Canada will soon impose new sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said Monday.
“There will be more sanctions. We need to make sure we put maximum pressure on Vladimir Putin, his close guard and also the oligarchs, that is our goal,” Joly said following a speech to the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations.
With further details on sanctions to come later this week, Joly told reporters Ottawa will do everything in its power to ensure Russia is isolated diplomatically, economically and politically, while providing Ukraine with weapons.
Joly called Russian President Vladimir Putin unpredictable and said his invasion of Ukraine is a threat to world stability.
“We need to make sure Ukrainians win this war. Vladimir Putin cannot prevail,” she said. “This is a question that is existential to the West and the world’s stability.”
She praised the courage of Russians who have dared to demonstrate against the war, and she said she appreciates that the numerous sanctions Canada, the United States and the European Union have imposed are hitting the Russian population hard.
“We know that the Russian people themselves are suffering from these decisions, and I want to thank and support all those dissenting voices within Russia who have taken so much personal risk and shown so much courage in speaking out publicly against the situation in Ukraine,” she said.
But she said the sanctions are necessary to pressure the Russian government to end its invasion, which has driven nearly 3.4 million people from Ukraine, according to the United Nations.
Joly’s comments came as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepared to leave for his second trip across the Atlantic this month as western allies work to respond to Russia’s invasion.
The Prime Minister’s Office said Monday that Trudeau will address the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday, where he will stress the importance of both continents working together to defend democracy.
The prime minister will then join other NATO leaders on Thursday to co-ordinate the military alliance’s response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine. He will also take part in a meeting of G7 leaders before returning to Canada on Friday.
Trudeau was last in Europe only two weeks ago, where he held meetings in London, Berlin, Warsaw, Poland and visited Canadian troops leading a multinational battlegroup in Latvia.
The prime minister announced new support for NATO and Ukraine at that time, but he could face added pressure from other leaders during this new trip to increase Canadian defence spending.
In her speech, Joly discussed how the invasion of Ukraine had turned geopolitics on its head, prompting western countries to reassess their military spending.
“I think our Armed Forces need to be better equipped under the circumstances,” she said, noting Germany’s decision to boost its defence budget to two per cent of its total budget. Several other NATO countries are making similar moves, she added.
Joly did not mention what Canada’s plans are, noting those decisions are up to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland. But there’s little doubt, Joly said, that “the world has changed since Feb. 24, the date of the Russian invasion, and we will take note of it.”
She also insisted that China play its role on the United Nations Security Council, noting the country has abstained on votes since the beginning of the conflict. Joly told the crowd there are concerns that Russian success in Ukraine could motivate China to take a similar approach in Taiwan.
“China must play a constructive role as a member of the Security Council, must ensure that the conflict does not escalate … and that is the position that I have asked my diplomats to relay to Chinese diplomats,” she told reporters.
Joly said resources have been added to Canadian embassies in Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia, including extended hours to deal with Ukrainian refugees. Other embassies in Europe, notably in Paris, London and Rome, have been mandated to support those in countries bordering Ukraine.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 21, 2022.