Politics

Trudeau in Europe as Ukraine invasion intensifies


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Good evening to you.

We begin across the pond, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new sanctions against 10 more Russians today while meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte in the U.K.

“This includes former and current senior government officials, oligarchs, and supporters of Russian leadership,” Trudeau said, noting that those on the list are “complicit in this unjustified invasion.” The list was compiled with the help of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, he added.

The trio of leaders — Trudeau, Johnson, and Rutte — discussed creating a humanitarian coalition of nations, part of a six-part plan the U.K. has put forward. At a news conference, Johnson urged countries to help Ukraine however they can.

“Our new international Ukraine-support group will coordinate the efforts of the international community to provide long-term and unwavering assistance now and in the future, and we will be encouraging more countries to join us,” Johnson said. “This is the moment for Ukraine’s friends to create a coalition of humanitarian, economic, and defensive military support to ensure that Putin fails.”

Given all that’s going on in the world, Trudeau also hinted today that Canada might spend more on its military.

The Queen greets Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Windsor Castle (Royal Family/Twitter)

Trudeau also met with the Queen for 45 minutes today at Windsor Castle — a long visit, considering an audience with the Queen usually lasts 20 minutes. It was her first in-person meeting since she tested positive for COVID-19, and it didn’t go unnoticed that a large bouquet of yellow and blue flowers had been arranged for their meeting.

Here at home, the NDP is urging the federal government to do more to help racialized refugees fleeing Ukraine, as the Russian invasion continues into its second week. “We need to make sure there’s a clear plan to recognize the vulnerable communities that are unable to leave, or that are having trouble leaving,” Leader Jagmeet Singh said today. “That’s racialized people in Ukraine, as well as the LGBTQ community.”

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser should meet with his provincial counterparts to draft a plan to settle refugees in Canada, and they should pressure other countries to step up their efforts to help vulnerable populations, Singh said in a letter to Trudeau. The NDP wants Ottawa “to offer expedited access to Canada to these refugees who are especially vulnerable due to systemic discrimination.” Racialized people in Ukraine have been discriminated against while seeking shelter and trying to flee the wartorn country. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has denied all allegations of discrimination. More from Aidan Chamandy.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Looking west, Alberta’s premier says Canada isn’t doing enough to promote its own oil reserves as a suitable replacement for Russian oil. “The world needs more reliable, responsibly produced, democratic energy from Alberta, from Canada, as opposed to relying on dictator conflict oil from the world’s regimes,” Premier Jason Kenney told reporters in Edmonton today, referring to oil-rich dictatorships like Iran and Venezuela.

Trudeau, Johnson and Rutte have also acknowledged the need to ween off Russian oil and gas, after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. “Many countries have realized that continued reliance on Russia’s oil and gas is a problem for the future,” Trudeau told reporters in London.“What we’re seeing is a shift (in understanding) — in Europe and elsewhere — that Russia is no longer a reliable partner.”

Although Canada doesn’t import much oil from Russia, Ottawa still imposed a ban on it last week. Jeff Labine has the story.

Lobby Wrap: Space Canada seeking discussion of ‘space norms’ 

The Sprout: Attack on Ukraine increases fears of food shortages

In Other Headlines:

Internationally:

A third round of ceasefire talks between Russia and Ukraine wrapped up after four hours today, and didn’t lead to any breakthroughs. Progress was made, however, on improving humanitarian corridors, with the expectation that negotiations will continue. As we noted in the Morning Brief, Russia hasn’t adhered to the previously agreed-to humanitarian corridors, as attempted ceasefires were broken over the weekend, including in Mariupol yesterday. Russian forces reportedly targeted civilians trying to flee besieged cities over the weekend. Among those who died was a family of four, including two children, who were fleeing on foot from Irpin.

Before the talks, the Kremlin stated its most explicit demands so far for ending the war. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Ukraine should amend its Constitution to “reject any aims to enter any bloc,” no doubt a specific reference to NATO and the European Union. Peskov also urged Ukraine to recognize Crimea as Russian, and the pro-Moscow separatist republics in eastern Ukraine as independent — but appeared to stop short of demanding regime change. “(That’s) it,” Peskov said. “It will stop in a moment.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service)

In an interview with ABC News, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Putin needs to start a dialogue, not deliver “another ultimatum.”

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, will meet, according to Turkish diplomat Mevlut Cavusoglu. “Hope this step will lead to peace and stability,” Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter, adding that the talks will take place at an international diplomatic forum in Antalya, in southern Turkey.

At the urging of French President Emmanuel Macron, Russia agreed to open humanitarian corridors in Kyiv, as well as Kharkiv, Sumy, and Mariupol today. But according to maps published by Russian news agency RIA, those safe passages lead to Russia and Belarus, not anywhere safe, the CBC reports. The plan was dismissed by the Ukrainian government as a “completely immoral stunt.”

After attacks clearly targeting civilians in hospitals, nurseries, and schools, Zelenskyy said today that everyone who commits atrocities against Ukraine’s civilians will be punished. His people won’t forget, nor will they forgive Russian troops for the murders. “There will be no quiet place on Earth for you, except for the grave,” he said.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused the Kremlin of “starving” Ukrainian cities, calling it “shameful.” He told Putin to “end the war, end it now,” while comparing what Russia is doing to Nazi Germany’s siege of Russian cities during the Second World War, which killed Putin’s one-year-old brother Viktor.

A Russian whistleblower told the Times of London that the invasion is a “total failure” that can only be compared to the collapse of Nazi Germany. The source also said Russian spies weren’t told about the plans to invade, and that the total number of dead Russian soldiers is likely almost 10,000, not 498, as the Russian defence ministry has claimed.

In Other International Headlines:

In Opinion:

Robert Muggah and Rafal Rohozinski: Five possible scenarios in the Ukraine-Russia war
: Russian invasion of Ukraine proves Europe needs Canada’s energy

The Kicker:

Finally, a compilation of why you don’t mess with Ukrainian farmers.

This post was copy-edited after publication.

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