The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement on Ukraine’s Unity Day:
“Today, as the people of Ukraine continue to fight for their freedom in the face of Russia’s brutal and unjust invasion, we join them in marking the Day of Unity in Ukraine. We celebrate the country’s unification in 1919 and its eventual independence and honor the brave Ukrainians who gave their lives to defend Ukraine’s freedom.
“On January 22, 1919, the Merger Act was declared, joined the Ukrainian People’s Republic and the West Ukrainian People’s Republic as a single independent state. On this day, images of people holding hands were linked to form a living chain, representing a strong and united Ukraine. Since the start of Russia’s latest aggression against Ukraine almost a year ago, people around the world, including here in Canada, have formed a living chain to show solidarity with Ukrainians, condemn the invasion of Russia, and share hope for a peaceful future.
“Canada’s relationship with Ukraine is deep. We are home to the second largest Ukrainian diaspora in the world, with over 1.4 million people of Ukrainian descent living in this country today. When Ukraine regained its independence in 1991, Canada became the first Western country to recognize that status. And since then, we have had a close bilateral relationship that is rooted in a deep connection between our people and the values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.
“As Russia continues its brutal and unjust aggression, the Government of Canada remains steadfast in its commitment to support the people and government of Ukraine to achieve peace and help secure a free and democratic future.” for Ukraine. We will continue to support Ukraine through military, humanitarian, financial and social assistance as long as it is needed.
“On this Unity Day, we stand together against violence, tyranny and threats to democracy. We pay tribute to those who lost their lives fighting for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. And we continue to uphold the core values of freedom, democracy and justice that unite our people.