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Canadian minister to visit 5 former Soviet-bloc nations next week

April 15, 2014, 4:36 UTC+3 OTTAWA
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OTTAWA, April 15, 4:10 /ITAR-TASS/. Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird will visit the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Latvia, and Estonia from April 22 through to April 28, an official at the Canadian government’s press service told Itar-Tass Monday, adding that Baird would go to Europe at Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s instruction.

The officials said minister Baird would visit “friends in Eastern Europe” to hold high-level consultations and to work out further steps, which the five countries and Canada - all of them members of the North-Atlantic pact - might take in the wake of the situation in Ukraine.

Earlier on the same day, Harper said Canada will continue toughening sanctions on Russia, as events in eastern Ukraine, where dozens of thousands of people are taking part in actions of protest demanding federalization of the country, are causing serious alarm in the regional member-states of NATO and in the entire bloc.

U.S. and other Western leaders have been showering Russia with the accusations of instigating insurrection in Ukraine’s heavily-industrialized and predominantly Russia-speaking regions. They are labeling the protesters as “separatists”.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other officials have dismissed these accusations as attempts to lay NATO and EU’s faults at Russia’s door.

Harper, who leads the country having an impressive and influential community of ethnic Ukrainians, claimed that peace and stability is faced with a threat not seen since the end of the Cold War.

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