Canada, NATO allies have to be ready for Putin’s ‘irrationality’, Joly says – National

Facing the absurd Vladimir Putin will be an important task for Justin Trudeau and his European allies as prime minister to Brussels, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said on Tuesday.

Trudeau will begin a whirlwind tour with a speech to the European Parliament in Brussels on Wednesday, where he will stress the importance of both continents working together to defend democracy in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Trudeau gave a similar speech in Berlin two weeks ago, and Joly said the prime minister would reaffirm Canada’s solidarity with a continent facing its biggest security challenge since World War Monday.

“There is a degree of irrationality in the way President Putin makes decisions. And in that sense, we have to be ready. We need to adapt to challenging times. And I think our military also needs to be better equipped,” Joly said.

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

Two weeks ago, Trudeau toured Europe, where he held meetings in London, Berlin, Warsaw and Poland, and visited the Canadian military leading a multinational NATO battle group in Latvia.

Mr. Trudeau said: 'Applications for special visas for Ukrainians fleeing war will be coming soon'

Trudeau says special visa applications for Ukrainians fleeing war will come very soon

Trudeau says special visa applications for Ukrainians fleeing war will come very soon

Trudeau will face pressure to increase Canada’s defense budget, which NATO estimates is 1.39% of the country’s gross domestic product by 2021.

Joly, who has crossed over to Europe on her own in recent weeks, noted again on Tuesday that Germany has made a historic commitment to increase its defense spending to achieve NATO’s goal of 2% of GDP. The spending pledge marks a radical shift in German foreign and military policy.

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“Times have changed; the world has changed since February 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine. Germany decided to make a very important decision by increasing their military spending. And we consider that,” Joly said.

Two weeks ago in Berlin, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland hinted there could be more money for the military in the upcoming federal budget.

Trudeau remained firm on Tuesday when asked about the possibility of more military spending.

Click to play video: 'Ukraine, West's priority is to ensure humanitarian corridors are negotiated, next: Joly'

Ukraine, West priority is to ensure humanitarian corridors are negotiated, next: Joly

Ukraine, West priority is to ensure humanitarian corridors are negotiated, next: Joly – 9 March 2022

But Joly made clear on Tuesday that Canada would also have to provide more military aid to Ukraine to help it thwart Russian attacks and give Kyiv more leverage in any cease-fire talks. future shooting with the Kremlin.

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“We will continue to announce more sanctions. We will also make sure to send more weapons to Ukraine because that is the best way to put maximum pressure on Russia, but also to make sure that the Ukrainians can defend themselves on the ground,” Joly said.

“Because at the end of the day, diplomacy is continuing, negotiations are happening. And it is important for Ukraine to have a strong position at the negotiating table.”

Trudeau spoke Tuesday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy before scheduled to depart in the evening for Brussels. They spoke of “further international support ahead of upcoming NATO and G7 meetings,” Trudeau’s office said in a statement.

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

© 2022 Canadian Press

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