Canada to sanction Moldova groups aiding Russia, send judges to boost integrity

·1 min read

OTTAWA — Canada has set the stage with Moldova to start sanctioning people and companies based in that Eastern European country who are helping Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Moldovan President Maia Sandu in Ottawa just weeks after her cabinet said that "hybrid warfare generated by Russia" is trying to overthrow her government.

Moldova has been trying to join the European Union for years, and the former Soviet country has helped shelter people fleeing violence in neighbouring Ukraine.

The Liberal government says it will publish new regulations in order to target people in Moldova who are committing systematic human-rights violations, endangering international security or committing corruption.

Ottawa also aims to send Canadian judges to Moldova to help the country strengthen the integrity of its judicial system.

And Canada is pledging $2 million for a program that will help the National Police of Moldova provide security in areas with many asylum seekers, through training, equipment, and technical assistance.

Moldova, which is roughly the size of Vancouver Island, is among the poorest countries in Europe.

Since before the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, an area along the border with Ukraine comprising about 10 per cent of Moldovan territory has claimed independence, and Russian troops have occupied the region called Transnistria since 1992.

Sandu told media in February that Ukraine had uncovered a Russian plot to overthrow Moldova's government, in part by having plainclothes officials with military training occupy state buildings.

Her visit on Thursday marked the first time a Moldovan president has come to Canada since 1992.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2023.

Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press