OTTAWA – Ukrainian lawmakers are asking Canada to give its country the money it needs to buy heavy military weapons, warns the only way to secure peace with Russia is by defeating it on the battlefield.
Five Ukrainian parliamentarians appealed after meeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other government officials in person in a desperate attempt to secure more support for their besieged nation.
The delegation dismissed the prospect of a negotiated peace as another failed attempt to rescue civilians from the city of Mariupol and an explosion at a Russian fuel depot on Friday threatened to undermine the latest round of talks.
The Ukrainian legislators instead listed three priority areas where they said Ukraine needed more help: further sanctions against Russia, financial assistance Γüá– and more weapons.
“The only way to have real negotiations with Russia is to achieve military superiority on the ground,” said delegation member Anastasia Radina.
“Ukraine must win the war to keep Russian soldiers away from our countries. This is our only option. To be able to do that, Ukraine needs deadly weapons. Heavy weapons.”
Ukraine has provided Canada with a “comprehensive” list of urgently needed military hardware, Radina added, which includes tanks and air defense systems.
“We can not do this with rifles, we must have heavy weapons to kick Russians from our territory,” said delegation colleague Yevheniya Kravchuk.
“Because if we talk about the end of this war, we mean to win this war, because otherwise, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin will not stop.”
Canada has sent several pieces of military equipment to Ukraine, including anti-tank weapons, since Russian forces first attacked in late February.
But Defense Minister Anita Anand has said that the Canadian Armed Forces’ stockpile of available equipment has now been depleted. She and Trudeau have said that the government is instead looking at buying ready-made weapons for Ukraine.
The Ukrainian delegation said it was possible to buy the necessary weapons from European countries, which is why they are asking the Liberal government to provide money for this purpose in next week’s federal budget.
“In terms of funds to buy weapons, this is one of the requests we made,” Radina said. “And I hope we delivered the sense of urgency of this request.”
The delegation warned of delays caused by “bureaucratic decision-making”, and said that weapons were needed immediately.
Lawmakers also called on Canada to provide direct financial assistance to the Kyiv government, which it says is struggling to cope with the economic damage caused by Russia’s invasion.
The International Monetary Fund released $ 1.4 billion in emergency funds to Ukraine last month to address the “significant” economic damage caused by the war, which has killed thousands of soldiers and civilians.
“We are not just looking for support from the International Monetary Fund, but we are also seeking direct funding for our state budget,” said Delegation Chair Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze.
Ukrainian lawmakers said they delivered their appeal at a meeting on Thursday with Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who is also Canada’s finance minister and of Ukrainian descent.
“We are inspired by the brave people of Ukraine, and their enormous struggle against Putin’s barbaric invasion,” Freeland spokeswoman Adrienne Vaupshas said in a statement.
“As we have said since the beginning of this war, all options are on the table to ensure that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will fail.”
On Friday, Trudeau heard from ministers and senior government officials during a meeting with the “incident response group” to discuss the war in Ukraine.
“The Prime Minister and the Ministers discussed the humanitarian, financial and military assistance that Canada has provided to Ukraine so far, and explored options to further respond to Ukraine’s changing needs in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a press release. statement of the meeting.
Kravchuk told reporters that an air strike siren rang on her phone during the delegation’s meeting with the prime minister.
“It meant that in the neighborhood where my eight-year-old daughter lives, an air raid attempt was made and my daughter had to go into the basement instead of going to school,” she said.
At least 148 children have been killed in Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, she said, adding that the actual number is likely to be much higher.
The delegates also accused Putin, the Russian government and the military of committing war crimes and thanked Canada for asking the International Criminal Court to investigate.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on April 1, 2022.