Canada's punishment for Russia 'will be swift and will bite': PM Trudeau, officials takes bold stance after Ukraine invasion

·4 min read

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned Russia's attack on Ukraine, saying the Ukrainians woke up to "the brutal, terrifying reality of war" in the "greatest threat to European stability since World War II."

President [Vladimir] Putin has launched a horrific, unprovoked attack on their country, a sovereign nation, including missile strikes in their capital, Kyiv. Canada is unequivocal in our condemnation of Russia's unprovoked and unjustified attack on the sovereign, democratic state of Ukraine.PM Justin Trudeau

"President Putin’s brazen disregard for international law, democracy and human life are a massive threat to security and peace around the world."

The prime minister indicated he has spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, stating that Canada continues to stand with Ukrainian people. Trudeau also met with G7 partners earlier this morning.

"Make no mistake, Russia’s attack on Ukraine is also an attack on democracy, on international law, on human rights and on freedom," Trudeau said. "Democracies and democratic leader everywhere must come together to defend these principals and stand firmly against authoritarianism."

"Russia must immediately cease all hostile actions against Ukraine and withdraw all military and proxy forces from the country."

More severe sanctions

Trudeau also announced that more severe sanctions are being imposed, which will target 58 international entities, including members of the Russian elite and their family members, the the paramilitary organization the Wagner Group, and Russian banks, among others.

Canada will also sanction member of the Russian security council, including the defence minister, the finance minister and the justice minister. Effective immediately, Canada is ceasing all export permits for Russia and cancelling existing permits.

"These sanctions are wide-reaching, they will impose severe costs on complicit Russian elite and they will limit President Putin's ability to continue funding this unjustified invasion," Trudeau said.

Canada's prime minister indicated the message from Canada to thee people of Ukraine is that "you are not alone, we are standing with you."

Canada's response 'will be swift and will bite'

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland stressed that the response by Canada and allies to this attack "will be swift and will bite."

"Today, we woke up to a changed world," Freeland said. "Russia has launched a brutal and unprovoked attack on Ukraine, a country of more than 40 million people who have sought nothing but peace and freedom."

"The horrific human costs of this cruel invasion are the direct and personal responsibility of Vladimir Putin who has chosen to invade a sovereign democracy and challenge the rules-based international order."

She added that history will "judge" Putin "as harshly as the world condemns him today."

This barbaric attack cannot and will not be allowed to succeed. Canada understands what is at stake, we know that the people of Ukraine fighting for their lives, for their sovereignty, are fighting for us too."Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland

"To my own Ukrainian Canadian community, let me say this, now is the time for us to be strong as we support our friends and family in Ukraine."

When ask if the West is "at war" and if Canada is prepared to fight, Trudeau reinforced that Canada unequivocally condemns this attack, and after Russia's violation of the UN charter, the rule of law internationally, Canada "will respond forcefully to make sure that Russia fails."

Freeland stressed that this cannot be the end of the post-World War II rules-based order.

"It could be," she said. "This is an extremely serious challenge to that order and if Russia succeeds then that order will be breached, and we can't let that happen."

"That would be devastating for the world and it would be really bad for Canada, Canada was one of the countries that built the rules-based international order after the Second World War. Canadians fought and died to build that order, and they did that because they care about the world but they also did it because they understood that as a middle power, as a democracy, we really need those rules to be firmly in place."

Trudeau confirmed that Canada has arranged for safe passage for Canadians, permanent residents and their immediate family members in Ukraine, at land borders with Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova. Additionally, Canada is "urgently" issuing travel documents for affected Canadians, permanent residents and their immediate family members, and Canada will be prioritizing immigration applications for Ukrainians wanting to come to Canada.

Canadians in the Ukraine are being told to shelter in place until it is safe to leave the country and register as a Canadian abroad.