Canada announces observer mission to Ukraine

Ukrainian Canadians Welcome Announcement

TORONTO, Jan. 15 /CNW/ - The Canada Ukraine Foundation (CUF), and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) today welcomed Prime Minister Harper's and Minister Beverly J. Oda's announcement that Canada will be sending up to 270 election observers to the second round of the Presidential Elections in Ukraine on February 7th.

"We are delighted to see that the Canadian Government has decided to send a major Canadian Observer Mission to Ukraine for the Presidential Elections," said Bob Onyschuk, Chair of the CUF. "Ukraine is still a fragile democracy, and the 2010 Presidential Election will be as important to the future of Ukraine's democratic development, as was the 2004 Presidential Election (the Orange Revolution)."

CUF currently has over 50 highly qualified and trained Canadian election observers on the ground in Ukraine to monitor the first-round of elections on Sunday January 17th. "Initial reports from our observers suggest adequate preparations are being made for this Sunday's election with most election stations exhibiting a high degree of preparatory activity," stated Ann Szyptur, Head of Mission for CUF. "However, media reports continue to raise concerns relating to potential problems with voter lists, possible vote buying, and voting at home. CUF observers will be following up on these reports and will continue to monitor developments."

"The 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine was sparked by widespread election fraud. Canadian election observers played a key role in documenting this election fraud which was used to nullify the election results and force the historic re-run of the Presidential elections," said Paul Grod, National President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. "Although significant progress has been made since then, ensuring free and fair elections is critical to Ukraine's developing democracy and we are proud that the Government of Canada continues to stand by the people of Ukraine," said Paul Grod, President of the UCC.

Impartial international election observers play a pivotal role in ensuring truly democratic elections in Ukraine. CUF has a strong history of election observer missions in Ukraine. In 2004, the organization sent a 500 person delegation for the Presidential elections, and large missions in 2006 and 2007 for the Parliamentary elections. CUF looks forward to working closely with CANADEM and CIDA in supporting the mission announced today.

The CUF mission will be reporting its election findings on Monday January 18th at 11:30 AM Kyiv time (4:30 AM EST) at the Intermedia press center at 17/52-A B. Khmelnytsky St. in Kyiv. It will also be webcast live on http://imk.com.ua.

SOURCE Ukrainian Canadian Congress

For further information: For further information: or to arrange an interview please call: Bob Onyschuk, Chair of Canada Ukraine Foundation, (416) 369-4574; Anna Szyptur, Head of Mission (in Kyiv), +38-067-696-0310; or Olya Grod, Head of the Kyiv office, at +38-067-445-5266; Darla Penner, UCC Head Office (204) 942-4627 or follow the mission on the web at: www.cufoundation.ca, www.ucc.ca

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