< Chrystia Freeland watches proudly after being sworn in as Canada's minister of foreign affairs in a cabinet shuffle at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Jan. 10. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)
Canada's new foreign affairs minister is descendant of Ukrainians and fierce critic of Vladimir Putin's wars
UBO Comment: We believe Freeland’s appointment is one of the brightest spots as Ukraine faces the potentially disastrous result of the Trump-Putin bromance.
By Don Murray, CBC News Posted: Jan 17, 2017
Chrystia Freeland was sworn in as Canada's new minister of foreign affairs on Jan. 10.
She is the proud descendant of Ukrainians and a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin's wars in Ukraine and his annexation of Crimea in 2014. She has written of his "revanchist policy" and called his characterization of Ukrainians as dupes of NATO, even neo-Nazis, "his most dramatic resort to the Soviet tactic of the Big Lie."
For this she was added to Putin's so-called blacklist. Canada's new foreign minister is, for the moment, banned from Russia.
On Jan 20, a swearing-in far more frightening for the government in Kyiv will take place. With the presidency of Donald Trump — a man who says he trusts Putin and is ready to do "deals" with him — Ukraine will experience a double winter: the real one at home and deep political winter in Washington.
More, perhaps, than any other national leadership, Ukraine's government was cheering for the losing horse in the U.S. presidential election. In fact, it did more than cheer.
In the summer of 2016, a Ukrainian government agency published information showing Paul Manafort, a key Trump adviser, had received millions of dollars from the pro-Russian party of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.
Yanukovych was a close ally of Putin until he fled from office and took refuge in Russia after months of angry demonstrations in 2014.
Manafort was quickly dumped from Trump's campaign after the payment revelations. But the accusations swirled, and continue to swirl, that Trump and his people are far too close to Moscow and its allies.
With the success of that political manoeuvre, the Ukrainian leadership became convinced that Trump couldn't win. So confident were they that they publicly denigrated him.
The Ukrainian minister of internal affairs, Arsen Avakov, called him a "clown" on Twitter, then doubled down on Facebook, after Trump seemed to have missed the fact that Russia had taken over Crimea. "The diagnosis of a dangerous misfit," Avakov wrote but later deleted.
Ukrainian officials quickly learned that Trump is not a man to forget or forgive. They were frozen out of the Trump transition.
The Obama administration, in a forlorn final wave to Kyiv, dispatched Vice-President Joe Biden to Kyiv on Jan. 16. He called on Ukraine "to stand against Russian aggression." He could offer little but words of solidarity.
That solidarity may be short-lived. Trump is now talking of dropping some Western sanctions imposed because of the Crimean annexation in return for a deal with Moscow on nuclear weapons. Ukrainians worry they will be roadkill in the drive to that rapprochement.
For complete text of the CBC analysis, link below: