Above: Global News has learned Canada’s military is anticipating a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine. Vassy Kapelos reports.
OTTAWA – Canada is preparing for a Russian invasion of Eastern Ukraine – and soon, sources say.
“We’re worried about their intentions. I think it’s the view all the G7 leaders that we are very concerned that they haven’t necessarily stopped here,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said at a press conference in The Hague on Tuesday.
Here’s why: Russia has strategically chosen spots to build up its military presence along Ukraine’s eastern border.
Though the Russian defense ministry says it’s complying with limits, the presence is large, and sources say there’s a “serious possibility” Russia could invade within a week.
“The fact that they explicitly said they have stopped here gives us no confidence. They assured us they wouldn’t do this kind of thing in the first place,” Harper said.
Russia’s next moves are part of the discussion G7 leaders are having, but the government won’t speculate on Canada’s response in the event of an invasion.
Conservative MP James Bezan says for now, sanctions are working.
“I think if we hit them where it hurts – which is in their own personal pocket books – they’ll take a step back,” Bezan said.
And if they don’t – there’s a lot at stake for Canada.
WATCH: Harper says Putin’s mentality on Canadian sanctions has no basis
Russia has made claims to parts of the Arctic – claims Canada doesn’t recognize.
What do its actions in the Ukraine say about the Kremlin’s willingness to pursue those claims?
“If Russia has these ideas of increasing territory, we are a neighbouring state. I think we have to continue to be in lockstep with our partners,” Bezan said.
But Ivan Katchanovski, political studies professor at the University of Ottawa, says any action taken by Putin is less about the West and more about Russia’s interest in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian-born professor says an invasion is likely, but a military response from Canada is not, as long as the battle is contained to Ukraine.
“Western military involvement in Ukraine to prevent such intervention by Russia is not very likely. …It’s not realistic,” he said.
United States President Barack Obama was also asked Tuesday what the U.S. would do if Russia made other land grabs.
He replied that if the country is a NATO member nation – which Canada is – then the U.S. would defend it with force.
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