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Harper travels to Kyiv to become first G7 leader to stand beside new regime

Prime Minister Stephen Harper lays a bouquet of flowers in Kiev, Ukraine, on Saturday, March 22, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
March 22, 2014 - 1:00 AM

KYIV, Ukraine - Stephen Harper becomes the first G7 leader to witness first-hand the tumult in Ukraine when he visits Kyiv today.

The prime minister, along with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, meets with both the new prime minister and president of Ukraine amid the most ominous eastern European crisis since the Cold War.

Harper is taking a day trip from the Netherlands to reiterate Canada's support to Ukraine the day after Russia formally annexed Crimea.

As he arrived in The Hague on Friday night, Harper announced new sanctions against Russian officials and the bank that finances them.

The economic restrictions and travel bans cover senior Russian bureaucrats, including the intelligence chief of the Russian general staff and more of President Vladimir Putin's aides and advisers.

The sanctions also forbid Canadian citizens and companies from doing business with Bank Rossiya.

Harper's visit to Kyiv comes two days before he's expected to make the case for a tough, united G7 front against the Russians amid fears from the West that Putin might flex his muscles in other nations once part of the Soviet bloc.

The G7 nations are holding an emergency meeting Monday evening on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague to discuss the crisis.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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