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Ukraine to get $220M in financial support from Canada

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says Canada will provide Ukraine with $220 million in an international effort to restore economic stability to the country.

"Prime Minister Stephen Harper is announcing $220 million in additional measures to promote sustainable economic growth, democratic development, and good governance," Baird said during a news conference in Ottawa on Thursday.

Baird said although Ukraine appears to have enough money stay afloat for a few more months, Canada wants to do everything it can to help stabilize its finances.

Canada continues to condemn Russia's "provocative and illegal" military occupation of Crimea, Baird said, adding that the Canadian government will not recognize Sunday's referendum results which he denounced as an "illegitimate stunt."

Baird said he took part in a phone call this morning, organized by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, where they discussed "these aggressive acts by Russia, which flagrantly violate Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Baird said $200 million of the financial support will come through the form of a loan guarantee based on a broader package that includes money from the International Monetary Fund.

"Additional support of $20 million will also ensure that the government of Ukraine receives the expert guidance it needs to manage this important economic transition."

Speaking to the UN Security Council in New York moments before Baird's announcement, the Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called on Russia to pull back its military forces and engage in negotiations instead.

"We urge the Russian Federation to pull back its military forces deployed in Crimea to barracks and to start real talks and negotiations."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Wednesday joined G7 leaders in calling on Russia to halt a referendum in Ukraine's Crimea region.

"All of the G7 countries remain collectively strongly committed to the view that we will not accept Russia's illegal occupation of Crimea," Harper said in B.C., where he stopped on his way back from South Korea on Wednesday.

The G7 group, which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, said in a formal statement that a Russian-backed referendum would hold no legal weight.

"We call on the Russian Federation to immediately halt actions supporting a referendum on the territory of Crimea regarding its status, in direct violation of the constitution of Ukraine," the statement said.

"Any such referendum would have no legal effect. Given the lack of adequate preparation and the intimidating presence of Russian troops, it would also be a deeply flawed process which would have no moral force. For all these reasons, we would not recognize the outcome."