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Canada’s FM denounces Russia’s actions in Ukraine

April 24, 2014

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said Thursday that the international community should not accept Russia’s “aggression” in Ukraine and committed to help the country develop its democracy.

Baird noted the conflict between Moscow and Kiev was worsening as Ukraine’s forces moved to drive pro-Russian insurgents out of government buildings they have occupied. He blamed Russia’s President Vladimir Putin with breaking the Geneva accord that called for the insurgents to leave and for international monitors to assess the situation.

“We cannot have one man in the Kremlin redraw the map of Europe,” Baird said during a visit to Poland, where he held talks with Poland’s Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski.

He said Canada would contribute 9.2 million Canadian dollars to the European Endowment for Democracy, which is working to support the growth of civic society in Ukraine.

Earlier Thursday, Baird paid a visit to the memorial museum at the World War II Auschwitz-Birkenau German Nazi death camp in the town of Oswiecim.

Baird and the Canadian ambassador to Poland, Alexandra Bugailiskis, walked through the “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Sets You Free) gate though which inmates were brought into the camp from across Europe to face death either in its gas chambers or from forced labor, starvation and disease.

From 1940-45, the Nazis killed over 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, in Auschwitz and in neighboring Birkenau.

Baird visited an exhibition that documents the atrocities and preserves the memory of the victims. He placed roses in Poland’s national colors of white and red at the Executions Wall, where inmates, chiefly Polish resistance fighters, were shot. Baird made an entry in the museum’s book of visitors.

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