June 3, 2014 4:00 pm
Updated: June 3, 2014 4:01 pm

Side trip to Ukraine added to Stephen Harper’s European itinerary

Prime Minister Stephen Harper boards a plane heading to Poland in Ottawa, Tuesday June 3, 2014 .

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – Stephen Harper will travel to Ukraine on Saturday to attend the swearing-in of the country’s new president and to affirm Canadian support against Russian aggression.

The sudden addition to the prime minister’s already packed European itinerary – his second visit to Ukraine since March – was announced on board his aircraft after it took off from Ottawa en route to Warsaw, Poland.

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Harper says he will attend the swearing-in of Ukrainian president-elect Petro Poroshenko to show Canada’s support of Ukraine quest for prosperity and stability.

Harper also fired off another broadside at Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying Ukrainians deserve a government that can defend it from outside threats.

The prime minister has labelled Putin a threat to world peace after Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula, and for instigating the continuing unrest in eastern Ukraine.

Harper is on the first leg of a European tour that includes a celebration of the end of the Cold War in Poland, the G7 summit in Belgium and the 70th anniversary ceremonies of the Normandy invasion in France.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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