The federal government is preparing to send a third shipment of deadly weapons to Ukraine as its military continues to battle better-armed Russian forces.
Ukrainian government officials and members of its parliament have called on Canada and its allies to deliver more weapons – including rifles and anti-aircraft missiles – to prevent Russian forces from taking control of key cities.
After denouncing Russia at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said today that Defense Minister Anita Anand was working to send more lethal aid.
“My role is to make sure this aid gets into the arms of Ukrainian soldiers who are fighting for their lives and for their homeland,” Joly said. “That’s exactly why I was able to get a deal from Poland to make sure delivery could be across their borders.”
Joly said she would travel to Poland on Tuesday to meet her counterparts in Warsaw to “ensure that ultimately the delivery is done.”
She praised the European Union on Sunday for agreeing to ship weapons and other aid to Ukraine’s military. Germany also reversed its longstanding stance on lethal military aid by announcing arms deliveries to Ukraine.
“So we are seeing a strong movement and I am happy that Canada was among the first countries to send lethal aid, because it is important that people can defend their lives, their families, their way of life and their homeland.” , Joly said.
Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed to send Ukraine $7.8 million worth of lethal equipment, including handguns, machine guns, rifles and ammunition. Until then, Canada sent shipments of non-lethal supplies, such as mine detectors, medical kits and vests.
Defense Minister Anand tweeted photos of the second delivery on February 22. Footage shows a Royal Canadian Air Force plane on the tarmac in darkness, its cargo hold lined with black plastic-wrapped boxes. A Ukrainian flag is seen draped over one of the cases.
“This assistance was requested by Ukraine, coordinated with NATO allies and is in addition to the $10 million in lethal and non-lethal assistance we have provided this month,” Anand tweeted the week. last.
Today our @CanadianForces made a second delivery of deadly military aid to support our Ukrainian partners. Russia’s renewed invasion of a sovereign state is absolutely unacceptable, and we will continue to support Ukraine as the country defends its sovereignty and independence. pic.twitter.com/lYZRIu8JOE
On Sunday, Joly announced an additional $25 million in non-lethal aid for Ukraine, including body armor, helmets, gas masks and night vision equipment. The government said it planned to work with Poland to deliver the equipment through NATO.
But Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko – who like many Ukrainians has said she has armed herself to defend her country – told Canadian media on Friday that Ukraine is fighting Europe’s largest army and cannot survive without more weapons from Canada and its allies. .
“Even if we worked and worked for decades, our army would not match Russia’s,” Vasylenko said. “So we need help waking up Monday morning to an independent and free Ukraine.”
Keep calm and know your weapons. A quick PM training from my stepdad. Improved stress coping technique during the night of the air raid. Tomorrow we master the AK-47. #Ukraine women armed and ready. pic.twitter.com/5mHjpe6AzN
Ukrainian MP Yegor Cherniev said that Ukraine is not only fighting for itself, but also for free countries in the West.
“We need your technical and military support… anti-aircraft, anti-missile weapon,” Cherniev said. “It’s one of our weaknesses.
“If Ukraine loses, the western world will lose. We are not just fighting for Ukraine. We are fighting for democracy and the values of the western world.”
Addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday, Joly denounced Russia for lying about its invasion plans and called on the country to immediately halt its attack.
“Today, as millions of Ukrainians suffer the indignity of war, we too are faced with our own responsibility: to speak and to act, to demand, in the name of humanity, that Putin’s Russia end to this madness,” Joly said.