Canada bars Ukraine officials behind crackdown

28th January 2014, Comments 0 comments

Canada will refuse entry to any Ukraine government officials linked to a crackdown on protestors, the immigration minister announced Tuesday, while condemning violence there.

"Effective immediately, our government will be restricting the entry to Canada of key officials of the Ukrainian government who are responsible for the oppression of citizens and the opposition as they defiantly and courageously speak out in support of freedom and democracy," the minister, Chris Alexander, told reporters.

He did not name any specific individuals.

The move follows the United States last week revoking of visas of several Ukrainian nationals linked to violence in Kiev.

Protests erupted in Ukraine in November, after President Viktor Yanukovych -- under Russian pressure -- ditched a key deal that would have taken the country a step closer to European integration.

They have since snowballed into a wider movement against his rule and have spread far beyond Kiev to outlying regions starting with the traditionally pro-European Union west of the country.

Earlier Tuesday, the government resigned and parliament repealed a raft of anti-protest laws which had sparked violent clashes in Kiev.

But the opposition still wants to oust Yanukovych from power, possibly through early elections which are currently due only in 2015.

There are an estimated 1.2 million Canadians of Ukrainian descent, according to the government statistical agency.

Canada has been closely watching the developments in the Ukraine, and held an emergency debate in parliament overnight.

© 2014 AFP

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