Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko spent his trip to Ottawa Wednesday warmly thanking Canada for its support, but also made it clear his country needs additional assistance through expanded loan agreements, intelligence sharing and freer trade.
In an exclusive interview with Evan Solomon, host of CBC News Network's Power & Politics, Poroshenko said a $200-million loan agreement could be expanded to further help Ukraine as it moves closer to Europe and further from Russia.
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"And we are absolutely happy with Canada, but we talk about expanding our economic co-operation and support from Canada and the current level relationship give us strong hope for that," Poroshenko said.
The Ukrainian president also said in the interview with Solomon that Ukraine's agreement Tuesday to deepen ties with Europe leaves no hope for Russia to recreate the old alliances of the communist era.
"Yesterday, Ukraine crossed the Rubicon and ruined any hopes to restore the Soviet Union," Poroshenko said.
"We are a European nation. We passed one of the most difficult exams in our history, paying one of the most important and big price for our European future."
Reconnaissance, energy needed
Poroshenko told Power & Politics that he is asking for reconnaissance and intelligence help from Canada as his country tries to defend itself against pro-Russian rebels.
Asked whether that meant satellites or signals intelligence, Poroshenko was coy.
"I don't go deeply in the details, but I said that we can speak about the share of the reconnaissance and intelligence information," he said.
In his speech to Parliament, Poroshenko thanked Canada for being "one of the soundest supporters of Ukraine."
"Let's look beyond the crisis and war … we need to pay more attention to the bilateral co-operation in such spheres as energy, trade, investment, information, aerospace and many other technologies," Poroshenko added.
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Canada and Ukraine also committed to pick up where they'd left off on stalled trade negotiations.
"I hope that both negotiation teams translated our firm signal, the prime minister's (Stephen Harper's) and mine, and the next time we will see each other, we will have (a) Ukraine-Canada free-trade agreement to sign."
Poroshenko also discussed the need for Ukraine to have energy independence.
"Canada could be one of the most important partners in this field," he told Power & Politics.
Poroshenko's visit comes one day after Ukraine signed a historic agreement to deepen its ties to the European Union.