Remarks on Russia's attack on Ukraine
Hello everyone. Thank you for being here.
I am accompanied today by Deputy Prime Minister Freeland and Ministers Joly and Anand. We are here today to talk about the situation in Ukraine. Russia’s unjustifiable attack against Ukraine is unacceptable.
This morning Ukrainians woke up to the brutal terrifying reality of war.
President Putin has launched a horrific unprovoked attack on their country, a sovereign nation, including missile strikes in their capital Kyiv. He has needlessly put the lives of innocent people at risk, violated Russia's international treaties and launched the greatest threat to European stability since World War II.
Canada is unequivocal in our condemnation of Russia's unprovoked and unjustified attack on the sovereign democratic state of Ukraine. President Putin's brazen disregard for international law, democracy, and human life are a massive threat to security and peace around the world.
I just spoke a few minutes ago with President Zelensky, I told him that we are announcing strong action today and continue to stand with him and with the Ukrainian people. Earlier this morning I met with G7 partners to coordinate our response; we're also working closely with NATO and our allies. Together we have made clear that Russian violence, aggression and violation of international law will not go unpunished. We stand united and steadfast in our support of Ukraine's sovereignty, and we stand in solidarity with Ukrainian people's right to decide their own future in a free and democratic state.
On Tuesday, after President Putin’s recognition of the so-called independent states of Donetsk and Luhansk, Canada announced an initial series of concerted sanctions. Canada’s sanctions target those responsible for Russia’s unlawful actions as well as two state-supported Russian banks. Furthermore, Canadians are barred from purchasing Russian sovereign debt, and it will be against the law to take part in any financial transaction with the so-called independent states of Donetsk and Luhansk.
We also announced the deployment of up to 460 additional Canada Armed Forces members to support NATO as part of Operational REASSURANCE to promote peace and security in Europe.
Today, in light of Russia's reckless and dangerous military strike, we are imposing further severe sanctions. These sanctions will target 58 individuals and entities, including members of the Russian elite and their family members, as well as the Wagner group and major Russian banks, among others. We will also sanction members of the Russian Security Council, including the defense minister, the finance minister and the justice minister. In addition, effective immediately, we are ceasing all export permits for Russia and canceling existing permits.
These sanctions are wide-reaching. They will impose severe costs on complicit Russian elites, and they will limit President Putin's ability to continue funding this unjustified invasion.
Today, in light of Russia's reckless and dangerous military strike, we are imposing further severe sanctions. These sanctions are wide-reaching. They will impose severe costs on complicit Russian elites, and they will limit President Putin's ability to continue funding this unjustified invasion.
I want to be clear: Russia's attack on Ukraine is also an attack on democracy, on international law, and on freedom.
Make no mistake, Russia's attack on Ukraine is also an attack on democracy, on international law, on human rights, and on freedom. Russia's actions stand in direct opposition to the democratic principles that generations of Canadians have fought to protect. Democracies and democratic leaders everywhere must come together to defend these principles and stand firmly against authoritarianism.
Russia must immediately cease all hostile actions against Ukraine and withdraw all military and proxy forces from the country. Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected, and the Ukrainian people, like all people, must be free to determine their own future.
I want to be clear; our quarrel is not with the people of Russia; it is with President Putin and Russian leadership that has enabled and supported this further invasion of Ukraine.
The truth is that Russia has been violating Ukrainian sovereignty for years. In 2014, it illegally annexed Crimea, and ever since it has been interfering with democracy in Ukraine. And today, President Putin has opened a new dark chapter in that story by launching a large-scale invasion.
These are deeply disturbing times for the international community and for people everywhere who care about freedom and democracy. And while the eyes of the world are on leaders, we can never lose sight of the human cost of conflict. Innocent people, including children, are now facing violence and chaos.
In these dark hours Canada's message to the people of Ukraine is this: You are not alone; we are standing with you. To Canadians and permanent residents in Ukraine, your safety and security are now our top priority, we also want to make sure that you can get to safety. We've arranged for safe passage for you and your families at the land borders with Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova.
We are urgently issuing travel documents for affected Canadians, permanent residents and their immediate family members. We’re also prioritizing immigration applications for Ukrainians who want to come to Canada. And to ensure we can serve people as quickly as possible, today we are launching a new dedicated phone line for anyone at home or abroad with urgent Ukraine-related immigration questions.
To Canadians and permanent residents of Canada in Ukraine, your health and safety is our top priority. Steps have been taken to ensure that you and your family can safely cross the borders with Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova. Travel documents are being issued on an urgent basis to affected Canadians and permanent residents and their immediate family members.
Priority is also being given to immigration applications from Ukrainians who wish to come to Canada. And to ensure that we can serve people as quickly as possible, we are launching a new dedicated phone line today for people here and abroad who have urgent immigration questions related to Ukraine.
Last night I spoke with Ukrainian Canadians at the Ukrainian Canadian Congress board meeting. I told them that President Putin has underestimated the strength and unity of democratic allies and partners, and he has underestimated the strength and resolve of Ukrainian people. These are traits of Ukrainian Canadians too; you have helped build this country, you're proud of your culture and your heritage and you don't back down. Well, neither will Canada.
Our support for Ukraine for democracy and for human rights remains unwavering.