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Trudeau says heavy artillery coming for Ukraine, but stays mum on details

Prime Minister said he wants to be careful about what he publicizes for security reasons
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks about housing after meeting privately with two families in Kitchener, Ont. on Wednesday, April 20, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t going to provide more details about his government’s pledge to send a new round of military aid to Ukraine — at least not yet.

The prime minister said Wednesday that he doesn’t want to outline the specifics of what will be sent, and where the government is getting it from, because of security concerns.

Trudeau said he wants to be careful about what he publicizes about the delivery of military equipment in the context of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

He said he hopes to share more in the coming days about what is being sent to Ukraine.

“People understand that delivery of military equipment in the context of an illegal war by Russia is something that we have to be a little bit careful about — what we broadcast and publicize and what we’re doing,” Trudeau said during a media availability in Kitchener, Ont.

“But in the coming days, I certainly hope to be able to share more about what is being sent and what was sent.”

Trudeau first announced Tuesday that Canada will send heavy artillery to Ukraine in response to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s request.

Earlier this month, Zelenskyy released a list of equipment he said the Ukrainian military needed to fight Russia, including 155-millimetre heavy artillery guns and ammunition.

“If we had access to all the weapons we need, which our partners have and which are comparable to the weapons used by the Russian Federation, we would have already ended this war,” Zelenskyy said in the text of an address posted online Tuesday.

The Liberal government has previously dipped into the Canadian Armed Forces inventory to provide lethal aid to the Ukrainian military as it fights a Russian invasion that started in late February and has so far killed thousands of people.

But Defence Minister Anita Anand has suggested the military’s spare inventory is tapped out, and that the government — which set aside $500 million in military assistance for Ukraine in its latest budget — planned to buy equipment from vendors.

Trudeau said that while the government was pledging more equipment for Ukraine, it would ensure the Canadian military could contribute fully to NATO operations in Europe.

“As we support Ukraine, including with military equipment and munitions, we are also making sure that Canada continues to have the capacity to operate — not just to defend Canada but to participate fully in NATO operations as well,” he said.

Trudeau spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden and other NATO allies on Tuesday, one of several meetings this week focused on the war in Ukraine, including one for G20 finance ministers and central bankers.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted Wednesday afternoon that Canada and “a number of our democratic partners” walked out of the G20 meeting when Russia, which is a member of the group of nations, “sought to intervene.”

Among those in the picture put out from Freeland’s feed were U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem, Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, and Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank.

“This week’s meetings in Washington are about supporting the world economy — and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is a grave threat to the global economy. Russia should not be participating or included in these meetings,” Freeland tweeted.

“The world’s democracies will not stand idly by in the face of continued Russian aggression and war crimes.”

—The Canadian Press

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