Joly won't rule out sending weapons to Ukraine over Russian military presence
Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly hasn't ruled out the possibility of Canada sending weapons to Ukraine as Russia amasses troops along the Eastern border, noting that her cabinet colleagues are working closely on the issue.
In an interview on CTV’s Question Period with host Evan Solomon airing Sunday, Joly says she’s had many conversations with her Ukrainian counterpart and Canada’s calls for Russian de-escalation remain firm.
“We call on Russia, along with all NATO allies to stop their military buildup next to Ukraine… when it comes to dealing with the threat that Russia poses right now, that is exactly why I had on Friday, an important meeting with all the foreign ministers of NATO because it is important as an alliance that we show strength and unity and resolve,” she said.
Pressed repeatedly on whether Canada would send weaponry to help defend Ukrainian troops in the circumstance of a Russian invasion, Joly said only that her team is actively engaged in the issue.
“The most important thing right now is really to work with Ukrainians to deal with their security threats. That's what we'll be doing. My colleague Anita Anand, the defence minister, is actively on this file as well with allies…Ukraine's security is Europe's security and therefore it is the world and Canada's security,” she said.
In early Dec. U.S. intelligence officials reported more details of Russia’s advances in the region, including plans to deploy an estimated 175,000 military troops along various points near Ukraine's border.
On Dec. 30, U.S. President Joe Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that the U.S. could impose new sanctions against Russia if it takes further military action against Ukraine.
Putin requested the call, the second between the leaders that month, ahead of scheduled talks between senior U.S. and Russian officials on Jan. 9 and 10 in Geneva.
Joly also wouldn't confirm or deny whether Canada would consider sanctions against the superpower.
As part of Operation UNIFIER, Canada sends a group of about 200 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members to Ukraine every six months, set to be stationed there until March.
“The operation’s focus is to assist with security force training. This will help them improve and build their capability and capacity. The CAF coordinates its efforts with the U.S. and other countries that support in the same way. Military training is one part of Canada’s overall support to Ukraine,” reads a government website.
With files from The Associated Press.