Foreign affairs minister says Russia's invasion of Ukraine has unified the West
More than 3.5 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded the country
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has unified western nations like never before and strengthened NATO's alliance, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said Friday.
Speaking to a crowd at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs, Joly said "there's nothing like having one villain" to unite against.
"President (Vladimir) Putin sought to divide the West and exploit our differences, but we are more united than ever," she said.
She said the United States' strategy of declassifying intelligence about Russian troops on Ukraine's borders before the invasion worked to frustrate Moscow's ambitions.
"It helped to prevent the war for some time. And it helped Ukrainians get ready, particularly on the military side, but also (helped) us as governments to be ready for what was coming up," she said.
"Also, it helped unite Europeans and North Americans on the issue, which was really important."
Joly reiterated that the federal government is willing to bring in unlimited numbers of Ukrainian refugees and officials are looking at possible airlifts from neighbouring European countries to bring people to Canada.
More than 3.5 million people have fled Ukraine over the past 23 days of the Russian invasion.
Asked about U.S. intelligence and Russian propaganda in recent days that has hinted at the possibility of chemical or nuclear attacks in Ukraine, Joly said she is "very concerned" and that this war represents the biggest threat to world peace since the Second World War.
The minister also said social media companies need to do more to prevent propaganda and disinformation, which she said has been a key feature of this conflict.