A Ukrainian delegation of MPs visiting Ottawa is urging the federal government to provide more military aid quickly, saying the country needs lethal weapons to defend against Russian forces.
The group this week met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and a handful of cabinet ministers, senators and MPs from all parties in a bid to rally more support. Ukrainian MPs listed three priority areas in which they said their country needed more help: new sanctions against Russia, financial aid – and more weapons.
“If you want to provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine, give us more weapons and now, urgently,” said Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, MP and chair of the European Union Integration Committee. , in an interview with The Globe and Mail, describing the main purpose of the delegation. message to the Canadian government.
“We didn’t hear no, we heard there was a will to do more.”
Canada has sent several tranches of military equipment to Ukraine, including anti-tank weapons, since the first attack by Russian forces in late February. But Defense Minister Anita Anand said the stock of available Canadian Armed Forces equipment is now depleted. She and Trudeau said the government was instead considering buying off-the-shelf weapons for Ukraine.
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Yevheniya Kravchuk, an MP and deputy chair of the Humanitarian Policy and Information Committee, told a press conference on Friday that the Ukrainian army has liberated villages in key regions and that “we cannot not do this with guns”. We must have heavy weapons to expel the Russians from our territory.
Ms Klympush-Tsintsadze said that if Canada cannot deliver from its own supply, she hopes the government will allocate additional funds to purchase weapons for Ukraine, noting that “it would make a difference on the ground” .
On Friday, Trudeau heard from cabinet ministers and senior officials at an “incident response group” meeting to discuss the war in Ukraine.
“The Prime Minister and Ministers discussed the humanitarian, financial and military assistance Canada has provided to Ukraine to date and explored options to further respond to Ukraine’s changing needs in the face of aggression. continues from Russia,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement. about the meeting.
The Canadian government is also working on a financial initiative that would allow other countries to donate money to Ukraine and help its economy, according to Klympush-Tsintsadze. In addition to that effort, she said she “hopes” more money will be committed for Ukraine in the federal budget, which will be tabled next week.
The five Ukrainian deputies will return to Washington DC, for further meetings there, before returning home to Ukraine.
Ms Klympush-Tsintsadze said her trip away from Ukraine was emotional. As she flipped through the interactive map on the plane, showing “this small country of ours on the map, and the huge country attacking us”.
“It was the first time it made me cry,” she said, noting that now is not the time for emotions, although she is unsure how the trauma will affect everyone. .
She said she wanted to emphasize how urgent it is to maintain focus, engagement and commitment to support Ukraine.
“This is not Ukraine’s war. It is the Russian war against humanity and the genocide against the Ukrainian people and the Russian war against the world order, the values, the democracy, the world which allows us to prosper, which allows you to prosper.
Ms. Kravchuk said a good reminder of the war took place in Mr. Trudeau’s office on Thursday.
“On my phone the airborne siren went off and that means in the neighborhood where my eight year old daughter lives there was an attempted airstrike and my daughter had to go to the basement instead of go to school,” she said. . Her husband is a policeman who fights Russian forces.
“The moment is crucial for us. To be slow means to fail, so we ask for support to be on time, to be fast, and we will win.
With reports from The Canadian Press
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