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Stephen Harper's statement on Ukraine

Prime Minister Stephen Harper held a rare emergency cabinet meeting Saturday afternoon to discuss the volatile situation in Ukraine. Here is the full text of the statement he issued afterward:

"We join our allies in condemning in the strongest terms President Putin’s military intervention in Ukraine. These actions are a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They are also in violation of Russia’s obligations under international law.

Canada recognizes the legitimacy of the Government of Ukraine. Ukraine’s sovereign territory must be respected and the Ukrainian people must be free to determine their own future. We call on President Putin to immediately withdraw his forces to their bases and refrain from further provocative and dangerous actions.

Canada has suspended its engagement in preparations for the G8 Summit, currently planned for Sochi, and the Canadian ambassador in Moscow is being recalled for consultations. Canada supports the immediate deployment of international monitors from the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to Ukraine. We are also engaged in discussions aimed at developing a financial aid package for Ukraine.

We will continue to co-operate closely with our G7 partners and other allies. Should President Putin continue on this course of action, it will lead to ongoing negative consequences for our bilateral relationship."

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