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Ottawa agrees to send heavy artillery to Ukraine


OTTAWA — The federal government pledged Tuesday to send heavy artillery into Ukraine hours after announcing a new round of sanctions against 14 people closely linked to the Kremlin.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed to heed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s call for allies to provide more military aid to kyiv, telling reporters Tuesday afternoon that Canada would send heavy artillery to the region , with more details expected in the “coming weeks.”

In a video Posted on Twitter last week, Zelenskyy called on Western nations to send in heavy artillery weapons, vehicles, air defense systems and fighter jets – “everything to repel Russian forces and put an end to their crimes of war”.

On Tuesday, Russia deployed more troops to eastern Ukraine and attacked towns and villages along a front stretching more than 480 kilometers from north to south. This is the latest in the battle for control of Donbass, the industrial heartland of eastern Ukraine. And if Russia succeeds, it would essentially cut Ukraine in half and give Russian President Vladimir Putin a much-needed victory after Moscow forces’ failed attempt to storm the capital, Kyiv, and heavier-than-expected casualties. almost two months after the start of the war.

Trudeau’s engagement follows an early morning call with US President Joe Biden and the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom. Leaders from NATO, the European Commission and the European Council also participated in the virtual meeting.

“The leaders denounced Russia’s war crimes and brutality in Ukraine, and promised to hold Russia accountable for its actions, including through the International Criminal Court. They stressed the importance for the allies to maintain the firm and united position they have taken in favor of Ukraine,” reads a reading of the appeal from the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Prime Minister Trudeau underscored the strength and unity of the NATO Alliance. The leaders agreed on a common approach to support Ukraine as it enters the next phase of the war and agreed to continue to coordinate closely.

Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have also pledged to boost Ukraine’s arms supply as it resists increased bombardment by Russian forces.

Earlier Tuesday morning, Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly announced new sanctions against “close associates of the Russian regime”, including a number of oligarchs and their family members.

Canada has now joined the United States and the United Kingdom in sanctioning Putin’s two adult daughters, Katerina Tikhonova and Maria Vorontsova.

When the United States unveiled sanctions against the pair earlier this month, officials identified Tikhonova as a tech executive and Vorontsova as a leader of “state-funded programs that received billions of dollars.” of the Kremlin for genetic research”.

Russian Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina and Maria Lavrova, wife of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, have also been added to Canada’s sanctions list.

“These actions demonstrate that Canada will continue to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin and his associates accountable for their complicity in the Russian regime’s invasion of Ukraine,” read a statement from Global Affairs Canada.

The sanctions will “impose asset freezes and bans” on those listed. Canada has now taken action against more than 750 individuals and entities from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus since the invasion began in late February.

In what both sides have described as a new phase in the war, the Russian assault began on Monday. The Ukrainian military said Russian forces tried to “break through our defenses along almost the entire front line”.

A few weeks ago, after Russia’s failed attempt to take kyiv, the Kremlin said its main objective was the capture of the predominantly Russian-speaking Donbass, where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces for eight years.

With files from The Associated Press

PR

Raisa Patel is an Ottawa journalist who covers federal politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @R_SPatel

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