Canada is expected to pledge more humanitarian aid to Ukraine and finalize a deal to disburse more than $200-million in loans for Kiev when Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko visits Wednesday.
Mr. Poroshenko, a candy magnate who took office in June, represents a new chapter for Ukraine, which is struggling both to find a stable economic footing and weather Russian efforts to destabilize the Eastern European nation.
Canada unveiled a flurry of measures Tuesday ahead of the visit, which will feature a welcome ceremony with full military honours, an address to Parliament by Mr. Poroshenko and a tête-à-tête between the Ukrainian politician and Stephen Harper, the only Group of Seven leader who attended his inauguration in June.
Ottawa announced it would send more than 300 election monitors to Ukraine to help ensure the integrity of parliamentary elections this fall.
Plus, Canada served notice it was slapping additional sanctions on Russia for its aggression against Ukraine, matching similar penalties imposed in recent days by European allies and the United States.
These new restrictions come amid a ceasefire between Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels in the country's east. On Tuesday, lawmakers in Kiev voted to grant self-rule to the separatist east and offer amnesty to rebel fighters under a peace plan drawn up 11 days ago to halt the five-month conflict.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said now was not the time for the West to relax sanctions against Russia, which has supplied arms, money and troops to the eastern Ukrainian rebels this year and still holds the Crimean peninsula it annexed in March.
"The Putin regime's military aggression continues. For example … we are seeing reports that President [Vladimir] Putin has ordered a surge of troops in Crimea, and we have seen no evidence of progress on our calls for the Putin regime to end its support to the armed militants fomenting violence," he told reporters.
The Canadian government's new sanctions include freezes and bans on travel to Canada against four senior officers in the Russian military, as well as economic sanctions against five more of Russia's arms makers and one Moscow-based bank.
Mr. Poroshenko's visit comes as Ukrainian Canadians, although pleased with Ottawa's strong support, press Mr. Harper to do even more, including providing military aid to Kiev.
While NATO allies such as Canada have shipped non-lethal security equipment to Kiev, such as helmets, protective vests and sleeping bags, some countries have expressed reluctance to give weapons.
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress, however, argues that Ukraine needs the means to defend itself.
The group is also calling for Canada to liberalize visa restrictions for Ukrainians visiting this country and urging Ottawa to proceed as promised to restart free-trade talks between Ottawa and Kiev.
It's anticipated the Canadian government will conclude an agreement with Kiev Wednesday on the disbursement of a $200-million-plus financial package of loans for Ukraine first announced in March.
Ukraine publicly signalled in July how anxious it was to receive this aid that Canada promised to help stabilize its economy, weakened by conflict with Russia, and promote development.
Canadian officials have insisted on taking time to ensure that the right conditions are attached to the aid, including reporting requirements and restrictions on where the money will be spent, whether it is for banking-sector reform or anti-corruption measures. Corruption has plagued Ukraine for decades.
The Prime Minister has made the Ukraine crisis a central focus of foreign policy this year, imposing sanctions on individuals and entities linked to Russia's efforts to destabilize Ukraine and deploying a frigate, jet fighters and troops to a NATO mission in Europe designed to "blunt Russian expansionism" in the region.
With reports from Agence France-Presse and Associated Press