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Trudeau, Merkel discuss situations in Russia, China – Statement

Toronto: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed over the telephone a range of topics, including the tensions between Russia and Ukraine as well as China.

“The two leaders shared their deep concern about Russia’s recent military activities in Crimea and along the border with Ukraine. They underlined their commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity,” Trudeau’s office said in readout of the call on Thursday.

Russia has expressed its concern with Ukraine’s increasing belligerence in the Donbas region, as Ukrainian forces step up an offensive to end the near-seven-year civil conflict by using military force. Russia has acknowledged bolstering security near the Ukrainian border, but said the move was in response to the NATO buildup in the region.

Trudeau and Merkel also discussed “common priorities and shared values” regarding relations with China, including the ongoing detention two Canadian nationals – former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor – in China on espionage charges.

Trudeau expressed his appreciation for Germany’s solidarity with Canada’s position regarding its two detained citizens, the statement said.

Kovrig and Spavor have now been detained in China for more than 800 days and Ottawa maintains that the “arbitrary” detentions came in retaliation for Canada detaining Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in 2018 at the request of the United States.

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