‘Significant breakthrough’ by allies amid Ukraine’s push into ‘darkness’: Deputy PM – National

Although Ukraine has seen a « significant breakthrough » in support from its allies, more help is needed from countries like Canada, according to one of Ukraine’s deputy prime ministers, Olga Stefanishyna.

When Stefanishyna, who is Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, first landed in Canada, the first thing she says she noticed was the amount of light surrounding her.

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« That’s not what we have, » she said Mercedes Stephenson of the West Block. « We have become accustomed to living in darkness. »

Stefanishyna, who is visiting Canada to discuss the current security situation and needs in Ukraine with politicians at the Halifax International Security Forum, said that about 40% of critical infrastructure in the Ukraine had been damaged by Russia.

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However, despite what Stefanishyna described as mass torture and missile attacks across the country, « the overriding spirit in Ukraine is that there is no way to surrender. »

“There is only (the) path to victory and that leads to permanent failure of the Russian Federation,” she said.

What does Ukraine need most?

Despite the good mood, the suffering and loss suffered by Ukraine has been extremely « severe » and there are other ways for Canada and other allies to help, she said.

According to Stefanishyna, it is necessary to support the restoration of the electricity grid to help bring electricity back to Ukraine.

“We encourage the big companies, the companies that operate the electricity market, to mobilize their efforts to provide us with everything we need,” she said.

The more generators the better, she added.

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« We need generators, » Stefanishyna said, noting that they will help « ensure the stability of the functioning of the state itself, because connection, electricity and energy are the basis of functioning in the country ».

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Ukraine’s power grid chief on Friday warned of power outages lasting several hours, and the state of the country’s energy and power facilities is fueling fears of what will happen this winter.

Freezing temperatures also put additional strain on energy grids.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the city faces a « huge electricity deficit », with around 1.5-2 million people, or around half of the city’s population, periodically plunged into darkness as authorities switched electricity from one neighborhood to another. .

Helping to restore damaged infrastructure is also crucial moving forward, according to Stefanishyna.

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“It is really important that we restore the infrastructure in a very quick and operational way,” she said, but added that reconstruction would be impossible without a “strong mobilization” of allies.

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Above all, it is particularly important that allies help Ukraine « close the skies » by providing more air defense systems, Stefanishyna said, noting that Ukraine remains « extremely concerned » about the threat of a possible nuclear strike.

« We understand that this nuclear threat will hang over all of us whether we react strongly or not, » she said. « There will be such a threat as long as Putin is in power, as long as there is war, as long as Russia is hungry for aggression, whether in Ukraine or Poland. »

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For Stefanishyna and other politicians across Ukraine, their ultimate goal is « to survive and save our people », she said, calling for more help.

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« So if some allies still think they did everything they could, we assure you that you didn’t because the war is still going on, people are still dying and families are losing their loved ones, » added Stefanishyna.

On Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on Canada to contribute to a long-term peace plan with Russia in a pre-recorded video address to the Halifax International Security Forum, where military officials from Canada and around the world, including Stefanishyna, are reunited. This weekend.

The peace plan will require agreement on 10 different areas, including the withdrawal of Russian forces, the release of prisoners and food and energy security, according to Zelenskyy.

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The President of Ukraine went on to encourage countries to « choose the element with which you can help », noting: « I believe that Canada, which strongly supports us, will also choose one of the elements of the peace for himself and will show leadership in all areas. »

Stefanishyna also said that Ukraine hopes its allies « will stand in solidarity with us ».

For NATO, an alliance of which Canada has been a part since its creation in 1949, Russia remains one of the greatest threats, according to Admiral Rob Bauer, current chairman of the NATO military committee.

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Although the alliance has yet to see evidence that Russia intends to enter NATO countries, “it is important to be prepared for it,” he said. The West Block Mercedes Stephenson.

« We are ready to defend ourselves and that preparation has increased, » he said. « The message to Russia is that we are not part of the war in Ukraine. »

Regarding the missile explosion in Poland, Bauer said NATO believes « Russia should always be blamed for this because if it hadn’t started the war on February 25, it never would have happened. » .

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In a situation like this, it’s important for NATO to know the facts before making a decision on how to respond, according to Bauer.

“It’s the fog of war. What you need to do when driving in fog is reduce your speed a bit to make sure you don’t inadvertently hit anything,” he said.

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“I think that’s what the alliance did. Don’t jump to conclusions. Watch, investigate, find out the facts, and then, based on those facts, make a decision.

Ensuring Ukraine survives and succeeds is vital for the alliance, Bauer said, adding that any Russian victory would not be the end of that country’s hostilities – it would only bring more.

“This is not the end of the instability. This is the start of greater instability,” he said.

« So it is very important that Ukraine does not lose this war with Russia. »

With files from The Associated Press


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