Supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes
Hello everyone. Good afternoon.
Thank you, Anita, for your remarks, and especially for all the work you do to support Ukraine. I’m very pleased to be here today with Yvan Baker, a fierce defender of Ukraine and a strong voice for Canadian values in our Parliament. Thank you, Yvan, for all you do.
I’m honoured as well to be here with the Canadian Armed Forces service members at the Fort York Armoury. The motto of one of the units here is “Mindful of our ancient valour.” Well, today we are also mindful of Ukraine’s enduring valour.
But before I begin, I do want to address the humanitarian crisis in Türkiye and Syria. Powerful quakes have killed tens of thousands, destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes, and displaced millions of people. Canadians have been heartbroken by the images they’ve seen, and they want to help. So, today we announced that Canada will match $10 million in donations raised by the Humanitarian Coalition and its members. This is in addition to our commitment to match donations to the Canadian Red Cross Earthquake in Türkiye and Syria Appeal.
We also announced that we will provide an additional $20 million in direct humanitarian assistance in response to the appeal from the United Nations for Türkiye and Syria. In all, Canada has committed to providing $50 million in funding following the earthquake to help deliver life-saving assistance to those affected, such as food, water, blankets, and health services. Canada will stand with those who are suffering.
That earthquake was a reminder that there are tragedies that cannot be prevented, natural disasters that take lives and cause inescapable devastation. But there are also entirely senseless but avoidable tragedies born of evil, like what the world has witnessed in Ukraine. Millions of Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes and their fellow citizens are dying every day, not because of an act of God, but because of the cowardly acts of one man, Vladimir Putin, and his enablers.
A year ago, Putin invaded a sovereign, democratic country. He was driven by greed, by cruelty. He was under the illusion that he could overtake Ukraine in a matter of days. Well, 365 days later, Ukraine is still standing strong – 365 days and counting.
A year ago, the Kremlin began launching brutal attacks, killing civilians and targeting houses, hospitals. Bullies like President Putin will never understand that fear is a powerless weapon against those who are fighting for their freedoms. Ukrainian defenders have repeatedly stood up to Russian aggression.
But we know that this fight is not over. Today, Canada is announcing new military support for our friends in Ukraine. We will deliver four additional Leopard 2 tanks to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and an armoured recovery vehicle. This is in addition to the four Leopard tanks already in the region, which CAF members are right now training Ukrainian tank members to use. We’re also delivering 5,000 rounds of ammunition, which will help the armed forces of Ukraine continue to defend their freedom and fight for Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
Another critical part of our support is to impose further costs on Russia for its illegal and unjustifiable actions. We are announcing new sanctions on 129 individuals and 63 entities, including Russian deputy prime ministers, ministers, other members of the Office of the President of Russia, members of the Russian military, and those involved in the production of artillery and weapons used in Ukraine. We’re also banning certain chemicals used in the manufacture of electronics from being exported to Russia.
And we are fighting the unfair trade practices used by Russia and Belarus to distort prices and attack Canadian producers. From the beginning, these two countries have lied about the invasion, and they’ve lied about the value of their goods. In response, we are giving the Canada Border Services Agency new tools to protect the integrity of our markets and, in particular, to protect Canadian producers from these deceptive practices. Canada led the global charge in implementing the harshest sanctions regime ever imposed on a large economy and weakening President Putin’s ability to finance this illegal war.
I want to be clear, however, that our quarrel is not with the people of Russia or of Belarus. Many brave people in these countries are standing up to their dictators, and we see it here at home too, with Russian Canadians supporting Ukraine and calling for an end to this unjust invasion.
Vladimir Putin made a grave miscalculation when he launched his war of aggression. He underestimated Ukrainians and he underestimated the solidarity of their friends around the world. He wanted to threaten and weaken NATO and democracies around the world, but today we are stronger and more unified than ever.
At the United Nations, an overwhelming majority of countries have repeatedly voted to condemn the war and called for its end. Once again… they did it again yesterday. And the International Criminal Court is continuing to investigate Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine.
Together with our friends and allies, we’re holding Putin and his henchmen to account, and we are delivering critical and significant support to Ukraine. Momentum is on Ukraine’s side, they’ve launched astonishing counter offensives, reclaimed territory and forced Russian troop withdrawals. To date, Canada has provided more than $5 billion in support to Ukraine and its people, and we’re the only country to issue Ukraine Sovereignty Bonds, which Canadians purchased to support the government of Ukraine directly.
The impacts of these are being felt on the ground, by soldiers and by citizens. We’ve provided military training for more than 35,000 members of Ukraine’s security forces through Operation UNIFIER. We’ve delivered M777 howitzers that have helped Ukraine secure victories in key battles. We’ve committed over 200 Canadian-made armoured vehicles that are helping soldiers defend the border in northern Ukraine.
We’ve purchased a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System to strengthen Ukrainian defence against Russian air raids. We’ve donated eight battle tanks in collaboration with our allies to help Ukraine win on the battlefield. We’ve imposed sanctions against more than 2,400 individuals and entities, and we’ve led the way in imposing sanctions against Russia’s Central Bank.
Our support is also helping provide stability in Ukraine in the face of war, so that schools and hospitals can stay open, so that the heat and lights will stay on through the winter, and so that the government of Ukraine can continue supporting its people.
Canada has stood with Ukraine since this conflict began, when Russia illegally annexed Crimea and triggered a conflict in eastern Ukraine, and we will continue to stand with Ukraine. This morning, my G7 counterparts and I spoke with President Zelenskyy directly. We reaffirmed our unwavering support for Ukraine for as long as it takes. We’ve called on Russia to immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw its troops from the entire internationally recognized territory of Ukraine.
Putin is dangerous, he is cowardly, and he is weak. His brazen disregard for human life, his irresponsible rhetoric and his willingness to inflict terrible violence on innocent people may seem to have no limits. But what is truly without limits is the courage and resolve of those who fight every day for their freedom, the everyday Ukrainian citizens who joined the armed forces, the children who had to be brave and say goodbye to a parent or grandparent so they could be safer here in Canada. The soldiers, nurses, doctors, mayors, postal workers and so many more who’ve stayed in Ukraine and continue to serve the place that they call home and preserve the Ukraine that they are fighting for. The journalists on the front lines who tell the stories of this war so that Russian-abetted disinformation and misinformation is called to account. And of course, the people here at home and around the world who donate what they can and fly the blue and yellow flag in solidarity. This solidarity is on full display in every corner of Canada, Canadians are standing with Ukrainians, while Ukrainians are standing up for more than their own freedom; they are standing up for all of us.
Slava Ukraini! Heroiam Slava!