OTTAWA - Stephen Harper has departed for Europe on a trip that includes a stop in Ukraine to meet with that country's prime minister and show support for Ukrainians during a Russian incursion into the Crimean peninsula.
Harper will become the first leader of a G7 country to visit the eastern European nation since pro-Western demonstrators drove out its government last month.
The prime minister will be accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, who has already recently visited Kyiv, but they'll spend only a few hours on Saturday in Ukraine after flying in from the Netherlands.
The brief trip to Ukraine comes a few days before Harper is expected to make the case for a tough, united G7 front against the Russians.
The G7 nations are holding an emergency meeting on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague on Monday and Tuesday to discuss the biggest crisis in eastern Europe since the Cold War era.
As one of the most senior members of the G7, Harper could sway his colleagues because of his consistent warnings about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
— Follow Lee-Anne Goodman on Twitter at @leeanne25
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