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Ukraine needs more humanitarian aid, military gear, Trudeau tells EU leaders

Click to play video: '‘We cannot fail’: Trudeau seeks to strengthen European unity' ‘We cannot fail’: Trudeau seeks to strengthen European unity
WATCH: In an address to the European Parliament, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged leaders to stand united against Russian aggression. As David Akin explains, Trudeau says that unity will be vital as Western leaders try to stay one step ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin – Mar 23, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is making a plea to European leaders to come together as democracies in the face of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and tackle rising uncertainties citizens have about the future.

Speaking to European parliamentarians Wednesday afternoon, the prime minister says those economic uncertainties have percolated for years, but are now stoked by rising global inflation.

Read more: NATO deploying 4 more battlegroups as alliance meets on Ukraine support: chief

Trudeau says economic frustrations are threatening the stability of the world and driving a deep uncertainty about the future and distrust of government.

He also says democracies face a new threat from Russian President Vladimir Putin and his invasion of Ukraine.

“Putin’s attack on Ukraine is an attack on the values that form the pillars of all democracies. We have a responsibility to make the case to people about why these values matter so much – not just to Ukrainians but to us all,” Trudeau said in his remarks.

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“We must recommit ourselves to the work of strengthening our democracies, and demonstrate the principled leadership people are looking for.”

Click to play video: 'Russia-Ukraine conflict: Democracy ‘will always be stronger’ than authoritarianism, Trudeau says' Russia-Ukraine conflict: Democracy ‘will always be stronger’ than authoritarianism, Trudeau says
Russia-Ukraine conflict: Democracy ‘will always be stronger’ than authoritarianism, Trudeau says – Mar 23, 2022

Trudeau says Canada stands with the people of Ukraine as Europe confronts its biggest security threat since the Second World War.

He says Western countries must collectively provide more humanitarian aid for families affected by the war, send military equipment and lethal aid to Ukraine, and further tighten economic sanctions on Putin and his enablers in Russia and Belarus.

The speech comes on the first day of a whirlwind trip to Brussels and Trudeau’s second visit to the continent this month.

Click to play video: 'Trudeau to meet with NATO, EU, G7 leaders about Ukraine war' Trudeau to meet with NATO, EU, G7 leaders about Ukraine war
Trudeau to meet with NATO, EU, G7 leaders about Ukraine war – Mar 22, 2022

The speech is Trudeau’s second to European parliamentarians, following a 2017 address that was meant as a shot in the arm for a continent reeling from Britain’s vote a year earlier to leave the European Union amid the election of Donald Trump in the United States.

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Two weeks ago, Trudeau developed a similar theme in a speech to an international audience at the Munich Security Conference, where he called for a recommitment to democracy in the face of rising authoritarianism.

Read more: Relief workers in Mariupol seized by Russia forces, say Ukrainian leaders

The speech was a sequel of sorts to the 2017 address the prime minister gave in Hamburg, Germany, that outlined his foreign-policy vision and his often professed faith in the rules-based international order.

Trudeau will join other NATO leaders on Thursday to co-ordinate the military alliance’s response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine and will meet with fellow G7 leaders before returning to Canada on Friday.

Click to play video: 'Analyzing how Ukraine’s history led to the 2022 war' Analyzing how Ukraine’s history led to the 2022 war
Analyzing how Ukraine’s history led to the 2022 war – Mar 23, 2022

Trudeau toured Europe two weeks ago, where he held meetings in London, Berlin, Warsaw and Poland, and visited Canadian troops leading a NATO multinational battlegroup in Latvia.

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Trudeau will face pressure to boost Canada’s defence budget, which according to NATO estimates stands at 1.39 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2021.

“Ukraine is helping to make spending on defence more palatable for Canadians,” said Andrea Charron, director of the Centre for Defence and Security Studies at the University of Manitoba.

“I think we need ground-based, anti-aircraft defence capabilities desperately and a replacement for the (CF-18 fighter jets).”

Read more: Top Putin aide quits, believed to have fled Russia over Ukraine war


Click to play video: 'Need to ‘start thinking about’ rebuilding Ukraine after war, Trudeau says' Need to ‘start thinking about’ rebuilding Ukraine after war, Trudeau says
Need to ‘start thinking about’ rebuilding Ukraine after war, Trudeau says – Mar 23, 2022

Prior to leaving Ottawa on Tuesday, Trudeau spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about “further international assistance ahead of the upcoming NATO and G7 meetings,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

“Both leaders called on Russia to stop targeting civilians, to withdraw its military forces from Ukraine, and to engage in diplomacy with Ukraine.”

In a tweet, Zelenskyy said he specifically spoke about the “humanitarian catastrophe” unfolding in the besieged city of Mariupol, and “the importance of effective security guarantees” for Ukraine.

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