Canada to ban Russian oil imports, send anti-tank weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, says Trudeau
In just weeks, Canada has shifted to a policy of sending lethal aid to Ukraine
Canada is banning Russian oil imports and will send a third shipment of lethal weapons to Ukraine as its military continues to fight off better-armed Russian forces, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.
"Yesterday, we announced that we would be sending new shipments of military supplies, including body armour, helmets, gas masks and night vision goggles," Trudeau said. "Today we are announcing that we will be supplying Ukraine with anti-tank weapons systems and upgraded ammunition."
Trudeau said the Canadian Armed Forces will provide airlift support to transport supplies and aid and to participate in other NATO efforts in support of Ukraine.
Ukraine government officials and members of its parliament have been calling on Canada and its allies to deliver more weapons — including guns and anti-aircraft missiles — to keep Russian forces from gaining control of key cities.
Defence Minister Anita Anand said Canada is sending 100 Carl-Gustaf anti-tank weapons systems and 2,000 rockets — ammunition for the shoulder-mounted weapons — from the Canadian Armed Forces inventory.
"We are co-ordinating with our NATO allies to ensure the safe passage of this aid and it would be imprudent for me to provide further details at this time for the safety and security of Canadian Armed forces and for the safe passage and the weapons and ammunition themselves," she said.
No crude oil from Russia since 2019
Trudeau said Canada will also ban Russian oil imports. Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said during question period in the House of Commons earlier Monday that Canada has not received a shipment of Russian crude oil since 2019.
"Today, we are announcing our intention to ban all imports of crude oil from Russia, an industry that has benefited President Putin and his oligarchs greatly," Trudeau said.
"This industry accounts for more than a third of Russia's federal budget revenues, and while Canada has imported very little amounts in recent years, this measure sends a powerful message.
"In addition, it ensures that those who are complicit in President Putin's atrocities cannot escape the consequences of their actions. This is why it was announced that Russia oligarchs will be prevented from using their wealth to buy citizenship abroad and avoid the consequences of sanctions."
After denouncing Russia at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva earlier Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said she will travel to Warsaw on Tuesday to "make sure ultimately the delivery is well done."
"My role in this is to make sure this aid gets in the arms of Ukrainian soldiers that are fighting for their life and fighting for their motherland," said Joly. "That's exactly why I've been able to get an agreement from Poland to make sure that delivery could be done through their borders."
She praised the European Union Sunday for agreeing to ship arms and other aid to Ukraine's military. Germany also reversed its longtime stand on lethal military aid by announcing weapons shipments to Ukraine.
"So we're seeing a strong movement and I'm glad Canada was part of the first countries to send lethal aid because it's important that people are able to defend their lives, their families, their way of living and their motherland," said Joly.
WATCH | Trudeau announces more aid for Ukraine:
Canada commits additional $25M in non-lethal aid
Two weeks ago, Trudeau agreed to send Ukraine $7.8 million worth of weapons, including handguns, machine-guns and carbines, and ammunition. Up until that point, Canada had been sending shipments of non-lethal supplies, such as mine detectors, medical kits and vests.
Today, our <a href="https://twitter.com/CanadianForces?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CanadianForces</a> made a second delivery of lethal military aid to support our Ukrainian partners. Russia’s further invasion of a sovereign state is absolutely unacceptable, and we will continue to stand by Ukraine as the country defends its sovereignty and independence. <a href="https://t.co/lYZRIu8JOE">pic.twitter.com/lYZRIu8JOE</a>—@AnitaAnandMP
Defence Minister Anand tweeted photos of the second delivery on Feb. 22. The images show a Royal Canadian Air Force plane on the tarmac in the dark, its cargo bay lined with black boxes wrapped in plastic. A Ukrainian flag is seen draped on one of the cases.
"This aid was requested by Ukraine, co-ordinated with NATO allies & is in addition to the $10m of lethal & non-lethal aid that we provided this month," Anand tweeted last week.
On Sunday, Joly announced another $25 million in non-lethal aid for Ukraine, including body armour, helmets, gas masks and night vision gear. The government said it plans to work with Poland to deliver the gear 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 the biggest army in Europe and can't survive without more weapons from Canada and its allies.
"Even if we worked and worked for decades, our army would not match that of Russia's in magnitude," said Vasylenko. "So we need assistance to wake up Monday morning in an independent and free Ukraine."
Keep calm and know your guns. A quick PM training from my father-in-law. Best stress coping technique during air raid night. Tomorrow we’re mastering the AK-47. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ukraine?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Ukraine</a> women armed and ready. <a href="https://t.co/5mHjpe6AzN">pic.twitter.com/5mHjpe6AzN</a>—@lesiavasylenko
Ukrainian MP Yegor Cherniev said that Ukraine is not just fighting for itself, but for the free countries of the West as well.
"We need your technical and weapons support ... anti-aircraft, anti-missile weapon," said Cherniev. "This is one of our weak sides.
"If Ukraine will lose, the Western world will lose. We fight not only for Ukraine. We fight for democracy and the values of the Western world."
Addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva Monday, Joly denounced Russia for lying about its plans to invade and called on the country to cease its attack immediately.
"Today, as millions of Ukrainians suffer the indignity of war, we too face our own responsibility — to speak up and to act, to demand, in the name of humanity, that Putin's Russia ends this madness," said Joly.
PHOTOS | Images from Ukrainian cities under siege:
With files from Murray Brewster