Trudeau warns of more sanctions from Russia amid Moscow’s military build-up near Ukraine – Canada News

Russia could face further Western sanctions as a result of its military build-up at the Ukrainian border, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday.

And Trudeau appeared to confirm that Canada would renew its modest commitment of 200 Canadian forces to a military training mission in Ukraine, amid rising tensions between the West and Russia.

The Ukrainian government has been waiting for Canada to publicly renew its commitment, which is due to expire at the end of March, as part of a demonstration of NATO solidarity with Russia at a time of rising tensions.

Trudeau referred to the Canadian contributions to NATO on its eastern front, which are part of the alliance’s 30 countries’ efforts to counter the Russian military assembly at the European border. These include Canada’s command of the NATO battle group in Latvia with more than 500 troops as well as its mission to train Ukraine’s troops operating under the name Operation Unifier.

“We are all extremely concerned about this and are united as allies around the world in urging Russia to de-escalate and indicating that there will be significant consequences in terms of sanctions if further aggressive actions are taken by Russia,” Trudeau said. .

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy renewed his call for an extension of the Canadian contribution to the military mission in his country during a telephone conversation with Trudeau on Tuesday.

“We are proud that Canada is leading a NATO mission in the Baltic states of Latvia. We are part of Operation Unifier on the ground in Ukraine, where we are training Ukrainian soldiers. We will continue to be there to stand as part of our NATO allies with our friends in the region, “Trudeau said.

Trudeau said his call for Zelenskyy was “unique”, in which he reiterated “Canada’s long-standing support and friendship with Ukraine” and “in no way condemned the Russian aggression and build-up of troops.”

Ihor Michalchyshyn, the Executive Director of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, welcomed the news that Canada would extend the training mission in Ukraine. But he called on the government to implement a much stricter set of sanctions against Russian officials under Canada’s Magnitsky Act, which targets human rights violators.

Canada has imposed sanctions on Russia under another regime known as the Special Economic Measures Act in response to the Kremlin’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014.

“Canada has lagged behind in the implementation of US and EU sanctions; no meaningful sanctions have been taken against Russia by Canada for over two years,” Michalchyshyn said.

Talks between NATO leaders and Russia ended on Wednesday in Brussels in an attempt to find a solution to the conflict, as Moscow massages 100,000 soldiers near the border with Ukraine, raising fears of an invasion.

Russia wants NATO to reject Ukraine’s offer to join the 30-nation military alliance, a demand that NATO and the United States flatly reject.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said after a NATO-Russia meeting on Wednesday that the two sides would set more dates to keep talking, but that the way forward would not be easy given Russia’s demand that the alliance stop its eastward expansion.

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