A Canadian leader with Ukrainian roots has ranked Putin as one of the ‘most rebellious European dictators.’

In Canada, a country with one of the largest ethnic Ukrainian communities in the world, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been met with particular visceral emotion, including from the deputy prime minister, Chrystia Freelanddaughter of a Ukrainian-Canadian mother.

Speaking after Russia invaded Ukraine this week, Ms. Freeland, who lived for a time in Ukraine as a student in the late 1980s, said that the President Vladimir V. Putin cemented his place “within the ranks of the despicable European dictators who perpetrated such carnage in the 20th century”.

“The terrible human costs of this heinous invasion are the direct and personal responsibility of Vladimir Putin,” she said in a speech involving Russians and Ukrainians, adding: To my Ukrainian Canadian community, let me say this: Now is the time for us to go strong as we support our friends and family in Ukraine. “

Growing up in Alberta amid a close-knit Ukrainian community with Canada, says Freeland, former Moscow bureau chief for The Financial Times and author of a books about Russiahas close ties to Ukraine.

While a student at Harvard University in the late 1980s, she conducted a university exchange program in Kyiv. In her tumultuous early days, before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, she participated in 1988 and 1989 in the Ukrainian independence movement, and was pursued by the KGB. She was even given a codename: Frida.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ms. Freeland, Canada has taken a tough stance against Russian aggression. This week, it announced financial sanctions against 62 Russian individuals and entities, including members of the Russian elite, and halted all export permits.

Amid fears of a new refugee crisis in Europe as Ukrainians flee the country, the Canadian government says the Canadian Armed Forces in Poland are also ready to help with efforts. humanitarian aid, while Mr. Trudeau on Thursday said Canada would prioritize immigration applications for Ukrainians.

Last year, Simon Miles, an assistant professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, wrote in the Globe and Mail, a leading Canadian newspaper, that while Ms. Freeland was pursued by the KGB in the late 1980s, she won the admiration of the spy agency by appreciating them. Among other things, she wrote, she evaded interception by sending documents out of Ukraine via a diplomatic bag at the Canadian embassy in Moscow.

Citing documents from the KGB archives, Mr Miles wrote that the KGB tried to dissuade Ms Freeland, including having her teacher at a university in Kyiv increase her academic workload. . But again, she beat the secret police because her fluency in Ukrainian allowed her to complete her course without taking classes.

Last year, Ms. Freeland recalled her days as a student in Ukraine. “I know that my work with democracy and environmental activists led to the outrage of the Soviet KGB. I remember being the target of smear campaigns in the Soviet press,” she told the Globe and Mail.

“Although I was eventually forced to leave the country, I have no regrets about my time in Ukraine during the Soviet era. What makes me so strong from this experience is how quickly a corrupt political system can collapse, and how important the work of brave dissidents can be. any “. A Canadian leader with Ukrainian roots has ranked Putin as one of the ‘most rebellious European dictators.’

Fry Electronics Team

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