Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, issued the following statement today, March 16, Censor.NET reports.
"Today we mark three years since Russia's illegal annexation and invasion of Crimea. We condemn unreservedly this violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
"Since the occupation of Crimea, there has been a severe suppression of human rights, including freedom of expression and association," the foreign minister said.
"Canada is deeply troubled by the politically motivated application of 'anti-terrorist' and 'anti-extremist' legislation; ongoing harassment of human rights activists, journalists and lawyers; arbitrary detentions; disappearances; and the persecution of Crimean Tatars and other minorities. We denounce the banning of the Mejlis, the self-governing body of the Crimean Tatars, and have called on Russia to reverse this illegal and immoral decision.
"It is shameful that Russia impedes access to Crimea for international human rights groups, including the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. The importance of this access was endorsed on December 19, 2016, in a UN General Assembly resolution co-sponsored by Canada.
"Canada is steadfast in its support for the people of Ukraine. Together, the international community must maintain its pressure, including through economic sanctions, until Russia respects international law and Ukraine's sovereignty," Freeland said.