Canada fears the tense situation in Ukraine will explode into an armed conflict, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.
Trudeau said at a news conference in Ottawa that the Russian buildup of troops at the Ukraine border is “absolutely unacceptable” and “serious consequences” would follow if escalation occurs.
“We do fear an armed conflict in Ukraine,” he said. “We’re very worried about the position of the Russian government, what they’re saying and the fact that they’re sending soldiers to the Ukrainian border. This is a concern shared by our allies around the world.”
There are about 200 Canadian troops in the Ukraine helping to train that country’s armed forces. The mission is slated to end in March but in answer to a question if Canada will continue past that deadline, Trudeau said the deployment is a “continued commitment.”
The UK and US were asked by the Ukraine to supply defense weaponry and that is happening. But Trudeau said Canada will weigh the level of support it will provide and make a decision in a “timely manner.”
In a call Tuesday with senior Cabinet ministers, a summation of which was obtained by Anadolu Agency, Trudeau stressed that a “peaceful solution through dialogue” was needed. The call included Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly who met Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Ukraine on Jan. 17.
At Wednesday’s news conference, Trudeau repeated that armed conflict needed to be avoided.
“We’re working with our international partners and colleagues to make it very, very clear that Russian aggression and further incursion into Ukraine is absolutely unacceptable,” he said. “We are standing there with diplomatic responses, with sanctions, with a full press on the international stage to ensure that Russia respects the people of Ukraine, respects their choice to choose their governments and their direction.”
“We will always be there for the people of Ukraine,” he added.
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