Canada sending body armour, helmets, gas masks as war in Ukraine continues – National Post

‘A combat mission is not on the table at this time. Nor is it on the table for our allies, including the United States’

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Feb 27, 2022  •  3 hours ago  •  3 minute read  •  131 Comments

Members of Ukrainian forces looks on from a public transport bus in downtown Kyiv, on February 27, 2022.
Members of Ukrainian forces looks on from a public transport bus in downtown Kyiv, on February 27, 2022. Photo by (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government added more punitive economic measures, shipped more equipment and banned Russian flights from Canadian airspace over the weekend, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continued.

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On Sunday, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly announced another shipment of $25 million in non-lethal aid to the Ukrainian military, including body armour, helmets, gas masks and night-vision equipment. The government is also providing assistance with cyber security to help Ukraine defend its networks and critical utilities.

This is the second shipment of defensive tools and the government has also sent lethal weapons. Joly said they’re looking at more ways to help the Ukrainian government because Russia’s actions cannot go unpunished.

“Russia has tried to make a mockery of our international system to force a reversion to a might-makes-right world. We will not allow this to happen,” she said.

The government also banned Russian aircraft from operating in Canadian airspace, a move that will force commercial carriers on long detours or require them to cancel trips.

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Canada was not alone, with several European countries announcing tough financial measures alongside offers to give Ukraine more weapons to fight back against the invading Russian army.

Joly said international consensus among Western countries is hardening and G7 countries all agree that Russia must pay a heavy price for its actions.

“We are working together to suffocate the Russian regime. We are working in lockstep, measures that were described as a last resort just days ago, are now moving forward with consensus,” she said.

The Canadian government is also supporting an international effort to remove Russia from the SWIFT banking system, which facilitates payment transfers between countries.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Joe Biden and European leaders also committed to restricting the Russian central bank from using its international reserves, as they seek to isolate Russia and strangle its ability to pay for its war in Ukraine.

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“As Russian forces unleash their assault on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, we are resolved to continue imposing costs on Russia that will further isolate Russia from the international financial system and our economies,” Trudeau and the others said.

Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said on Twitter that the government was looking at all options around Russia Today, which is an English language Russian news network that is considered to be state propaganda.

There were large rallies in cities across the country Sunday, including outside Moscow’s embassy in Ottawa, supporting Ukraine and denouncing Russia’s actions.

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Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who has Ukrainian roots, spoke at a rally in Toronto. “I want all these oligarchs to understand, and the Russian people, that Russia has a choice. If Russia continues this barbaric war, the West is united, the West is relentless, we will cut the Russian economy off from our own.”

She went on to praise the leaders of Ukraine for taking a courageous stand. “They need weapons to fight that fight. I’m so proud that Canada sent lethal aid before this war started, and with our allies are going to continue supporting that Ukrainian war effort.”

In addition to the protests in Canada and in several European cities, there were small protests against the war in Russia itself with protesters generally being arrested even for gathering in small peaceful groups.

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Joly encouraged Canadians with family in Russia to send them images of the war so they could see the full story.

“Send them pictures, videos of what you and we are all seeing through our own media and social media,” she said. “The Russian regime has a very powerful propaganda machine and that machine is selling falsehoods and lies about their motivation and invasion of Ukraine. The Russian people do not deserve to be at war with their neighbours, family and friends.”

Defence Minister Anita Anand made it clear on Sunday that, while Canada would be using military airlift capacity to get weapons to Ukraine’s borders, Ottawa would not be sending troops to fight alongside the Ukrainians.

“A combat mission is not on the table at this time. Nor is it on the table for our allies, including the United States,” she said.

With additional reporting by National Post and The Canadian Press

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Twitter: RyanTumilty

Email: rtumilty@postmedia.com

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