Canada Recalls Ambassador to Russia over Ukraine
Canada has recalled its ambassador to Moscow for consultations.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper also explained that Canada was suspending its involvement in the preparations for a G8 summit in the Russian resort of Sochi in June.
Speaking after a cabinet meeting held Saturday afternoon, Harper expressed Canada's support for the immediate deployment of international observers from the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to Ukraine and a preparation of a financial aid package for the country.
"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" Harper stated, as cited by The Toronto Sun.
Harper also cautioned that a decision of Putin to continue with an invasion would result in "ongoing negative consequences for our bilateral relationship."
The cabinet meeting was held after the approval of Putin's request to use Russian military forces in Ukraine by the Russian parliament.
Harper spoke with U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday to co-ordinate efforts to alleviate rising tensions in the region.
The two leaders agreed that Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity had to be respected and expressed their grave concern over Russia's intervention in Ukraine, according to a media statement of the White House.
Obama also spoke with French President Francois Hollande on the matter on Saturday.
In a 90-minute phone conversation with President Putin on Saturday night, Obama condemned "Russia's military intervention into Ukrainian territory."
Obama called on Russia to "de-escalate tensions by withdrawing its forces back to bases in Crimea and to refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine."
He warned Putin that Russia faced greater political and economic isolation.
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