Poland wants allies to keep taking Ukraine war seriously, Canada ambassador says

Click to play video: 'Canada signs new security pact with Ukraine, including $320M in military spending and $2.4B in loans'
Canada signs new security pact with Ukraine, including $320M in military spending and $2.4B in loans
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in Kyiv to mark the two-year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Trudeau signed a new security pact with Ukraine, which includes $320 million in new military spending this year, and $2.4 billion in loans for Ukraine. Crystal Goomansingh reports from Kyiv. – Feb 24, 2024

Canada’s ambassador to Poland says the country wants allies to “remain engaged” in the Ukrainian war against Russia that has been raging near its border for two years.

Speaking from Warsaw on the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Catherine Godin said Poland is very thankful for the support it has received in its efforts to help.

“Poland is asking countries in general to remain engaged,” she told reporters Saturday. “The population in Poland is very much in support of continued engagement, continued support of Ukraine.”

Her comments follow Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s unannounced visit to Ukraine to show solidarity with the embattled country, where he pledged more military and financial aid and long-term support.

Godin says Poland and Canada’s close military relationship is “really excellent,” having worked together to deliver aid and train 30 thousand troops. There are about 200 Canadian soldiers still in Poland, she says.

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Poland has also expressed appreciation for Canada’s role in guarding NATO’s eastern flank in Latvia, according to Godin.

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Between March 2022 and Jan. 27, 2024, Canada welcomed 221,231 Ukrainians to live, work and study until it is safe for them to return to their home country.

A quarter of respondents in a Leger survey conducted last weekend said Canada should increase the military support it sends to Ukraine. In comparison, 20 per cent shared that opinion in a similar survey in October 2023.

Click to play video: 'Ukraine at its ‘most fragile, most vulnerable period’: Gen. Hillier on 2-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion'
Ukraine at its ‘most fragile, most vulnerable period’: Gen. Hillier on 2-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion

As for how much money Canada spends to support the war effort, 38 per cent of survey respondents said Canada should maintain the same level of spending, while 31 per cent said the government should spend less. Only 16 per cent said Canada should spend more money to help Ukraine.

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Earlier this week, Defence Minister Bill Blair announced Canada will dispatch more than 800 drones to Ukraine starting as early as this spring. The $95-million donation is part of a previously announced $500-million military aid package for Ukraine.

With reports of support for Ukraine waning in other Western countries, Godin urges allies to continue taking the war seriously.

“It’s not going away, the suffering of the Ukrainian people is not going away,” she said.

Godin also addressed the ongoing protests by Polish farmers, who say the market has been flooded by cheap, low quality agricultural products from Ukraine.

Farmers in the southeastern village of Dorohusk, right at the border with Ukraine, have reportedly blocked access to delivery checkpoints to prevent the products from coming into Poland.

Godin says Polish authorities know the protests are “an issue,” and they are “working on it.”

“It’s an ongoing thing that they need to resolve and they want to resolve it, but obviously it’s… a challenge that they’re facing right now,” she said.

— with files from Global News’ Abigail Bimman and The Canadian Press

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