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John Baird to discuss Ukraine, ISIS at year-end briefing

12/19/2014 01:52 EST | Updated 02/18/2015 05:59 EST
John Baird is expected to respond to Vladimir Putin's accusation Thursday that Western sanctions are to blame for Russia's current economic woes.

Canada's foreign affairs minister is holding a year-end press conference on this and other issues as a year full of conflict and crisis comes to an end.

CBC News will livestream the briefing from the National Press Theatre in Ottawa at 2:30 p.m. ET.

The crisis in the Ukraine last spring prompted a round of sanctions against Russia from Western countries, including Canada. The ruble is now plummeting, as sanctions take hold in the wake of a stubborn determination on Putin's part not to relent.

This week, the European Union prohibited investment in the recently-annexed Crimea region. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warned U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry earlier Friday that any ramping up of American sanctions could damage relations "for a long time."

Other topics expected to come up in Friday's briefing include:

- Canada's response to the ongoing Ebola crisis in West Africa. 

- Canada's decision to boycott a recent United Nations conference in Geneva.

- Canada's participation in the ongoing conflict against ISIS in northern Iraq, including current Canadian policy on assisting Syrian refugees.

- The Harper government's reaction to recent terrorist attacks, including Monday's café incident in Sydney, Australia and Tuesday's school shooting in Pakistan.

- Canada-U.S. relations, including the latest dialogue over the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline.

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