Trudeau announces 35 more Russian sanctions and Ukraine bond sale in Winnipeg
Canada is upping the ante against Russia by announcing sanctions plans on Friday against nearly three dozen more Russians, as well as the rollout of savings bonds it says will give Canadians a chance to support the Ukrainians.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcements Friday morning at a Ukrainian Canadian Congress rally in Winnipeg – the first such national gathering of Ukrainian Canadians in three years.
Ukraine’s five-year sovereign bond proceeds will look « a lot like the Government of Canada bonds that people are familiar with, » he said. Bonds will be channeled through the International Monetary Fund to the Ukrainian government to support basic functions such as pension payments and utility costs.
“There are a lot of Canadians who would like to see us do more and be able to do more,” he said. « We want to give all Canadians a chance to directly support Ukraine. »
There is currently no cap on the amount of money that can be raised through sovereignty bonds, which will also be open to « non-Canadian financial institutions », Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said.
9 months since the start of the invasion
After prayers and a moment of silence to begin the three-day conference, Trudeau delivered the keynote address to nearly 400 delegates at the 27th Triennial Congress of Ukrainian Canadians.
« Nine months ago this week, Russia launched a brutal and bloody invasion of a sovereign, democratic nation, » he said.
« They violated the post-World War II order and stability that for decades maintained our peace and allowed so many people to prosper. They murdered innocent civilians. »
Canada stands with Ukraine and will continue to « tighten the screws » on Russia, Trudeau said, noting that more than 1,400 individuals and entities have now been sanctioned.
He announced that Canada would impose sanctions on 35 other Russians, including executives of Russian state energy company Gazprom and six energy sector entities.
The prime minister also said he planned to impose sanctions on members of Russia’s justice and security sectors, including police and investigators, prosecutors, judges and prison officials implicated in « gross violations and systematic human rights attacks against Russian opposition leaders ».
Friday marks the 247th day of the war. More than 105,000 Ukrainian nationals fled to Canada under special immigration programs, of which approximately 12,000 came to Manitoba.
The moment the war began is more vivid than ever in the memory of Alexandra Chyczij, National President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.
On the evening of February 23, the UCC board had just concluded a Zoom meeting with Trudeau when everyone’s phones went on.
« Bombs were falling in Kyiv, » she said. “Canada and our allies stand with Ukraine [and] thanks to this support, as well as the bravery and valor of the Ukrainian people… Ukraine is still standing. »
Chyczij welcomed the news of sanctions and bonds and called on other countries to follow suit.
« This is a groundbreaking investment in a peaceful, democratic and just future, not just for Ukraine but for all of Europe, » she said.
A new scientific partnership between Canada and Ukraine was also announced. It will see up to 20 Ukrainian scientists invited to work and live in Canada, to help Ukraine preserve and rebuild its science and research capacity.
« By welcoming Ukrainian scientists to Canada, we can provide meaningful and important research opportunities for those forced to leave their careers and homes behind, » Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said in a statement.
« We are all Ukrainians »
Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson also addressed delegates, noting that the inaugural triennial convention was held in Winnipeg in 1940 — at that time, against the backdrop of World War II.
« In the current brutal war of aggression against Ukraine, Manitoba is here again for the Ukrainian Canadian community, » she said, calling the current war « a deadly and dark European stain of tragedy and… unimaginable loss.
But one of the effects of the war was to unite Canadians in outrage and common purpose, she said.
« While one in seven Manitobans are of Ukrainian descent, we are all Ukrainians in this terrible, terrible time. »
Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand, who was also at the opening of the convention on Friday, spoke earlier in the morning with CBC Manitoba news radio guest host Faith Fundal. She said she had a message that she hopes is clear for Ukraine and all its supporters.
« We believe in your sovereignty, security and stability and we will do all we can as a country and as a NATO ally, with other allies, to support you with military aid as well as humanitarian and economic assistance to ensure that your sovereignty is protected,” she said.
« The attack on Ukraine is an attack on freedom and democracy writ large, and Canada will always stand up for those values. »
Canada has sent more than $600 million in military aid and equipment to Ukraine, including technology such as drone cameras and armored vehicles to transport personnel to and from the front lines.
Canada is also leading training missions to the United Kingdom and Poland and preparing to send 500,000 pieces of winter clothing « to ensure that [the] The Ukrainian armed forces have the winter clothes they need to fight and win this war during the winter,” Anand said.
Other essential items such as blankets, heaters and fuel are also being sent, while Canada will continue to supply Ukraine with lethal weapons, such as howitzers and anti-tank artillery.
« We stand with Ukraine in the short and long term, » Anand said.
« If Ukraine were to stop fighting, it would not survive, because Russia is clearly seizing every opportunity to withdraw its territorial integrity. In other words, Ukraine is fighting for its life. »
Trudeau then went to meet members of Winnipeg’s Iranian community at the Tehran Cafe in the city’s Chevrier neighborhood.
The group spoke with him about the contributions of the Iranian-Canadian community in Canada, support for Iranians and those coming to Canada, the downed passenger flight PS752, and Canadian sanctions against Iran.
“These people who are responsible for what is happening now will never be able to escape the consequences of what they do,” Trudeau said.