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Trudeau announces new military aid, bilateral agreements during Ukraine PM’s visit

‘Canada will continue to be steadfast in our support of Ukraine’
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, left, arrives for a meeting of the European Political Community at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, Oct 6, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Petr David Josek

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a range of new military, economic and cultural measures to support Ukraine in its war with Russia on Tuesday as he hosted a visit by his Ukrainian counterpart to Toronto.

The new Canadian assistance includes thousands of assault rifles, dozens of machine-guns and millions of rounds of ammunition to help the Ukrainian military fight Russian invaders.

Trudeau and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal also signed a new agreement to help Ukrainian and Canadian youth work and travel in the two countries, along with an update to the existing Canada-Ukraine free trade deal.

Canada is also imposing new sanctions on 14 Russian individuals and 34 Russian entities, as well as nine organizations tied to the financial sector in Belarus, because of their support for Moscow’s invasion, Trudeau said.

“Canada will continue to be steadfast in our support of Ukraine as you defend yourselves heroically against Putin’s brutal, barbaric invasion,” he said during a news conference with Shmyhal. “The courage of Ukrainians is heroic.”

The Ukrainian prime minister used the occasion to thank Canada for its support since Russian forces invaded in February 2022, which has included billions of dollars in previously announced economic and military aid.

At the same time, Shmyhal underscored the need for additional military assistance as his military prepares for a spring counteroffensive in eastern Ukraine, as well as the transfer of frozen Russian assets to help with rebuilding.

Trudeau delivered a strong defence of Canada’s continued support for Ukraine, describing the war there as emblematic of the larger fight for the principles and values of peace and democracy.

“Authoritarian dictators are looking at Vladimir Putin, curious to see if he will succeed,” Trudeau said. “Because everywhere in the world, there are neighbours with larger armies than the country beside them saying: ‘Oh, wouldn’t it be nice to redraw the map?’”

Shmyhal’s visit coincided with several apparent attacks on Canadian websites, with a group claiming to support Russia taking responsibility. That included an attack on the websites of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Senate.

Trudeau said it was not uncommon for Russian hackers to target countries that support Ukraine, particularly when those countries are hosting a high-level Ukrainian delegation.

“But in case anyone was wondering,” Trudeau added, “Russia being able to bring down an official government of Canada webpage for a few hours is in no way going to dissuade us from our unshakable support of Ukraine.”

—Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

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