EDITORIAL: Supporting the Ukrainian people


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Canadians were shocked and outraged by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s continued invasion of Ukraine.

While many observers expected action against the Eastern European nation, few predicted it would be as extreme as what is happening.

All eyes were on the easternmost regions of Ukraine – Donetsk and Luhansk. They have struggled with a degree of separatist movements as Putin has reinforced troops along these borders.

Some kind of action by Putin related to these regions would not have surprised anyone.

But minutes after his declaration of war was broadcast, the invasion took place not only in these eastern provinces, but in the central cities, including the capital Kiev.

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What happens in Ukraine matters to Canada for many reasons. For starters, we are a nation that believes in stability on the world stage and Putin’s aggression is the exact opposite. It is an unjustified and hostile act that we condemn.

Our NATO membership also plays an important role. Ukraine has been working on NATO membership for some time now. If they had succeeded – something Putin has always opposed – we probably wouldn’t be where we are today. We would respond with military force.

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Then again, if Ukraine was now in NATO, Putin would not have invaded.

Another big reason why this is very important to Canada is the large number of immigrants from Ukraine that we have welcomed over the decades. Canada is home to over one million people of Ukrainian descent. They are rightly concerned about the many relatives and friends they have in Ukraine.

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Canadians have been angered and appalled by scenes of children cowering for shelter in places like subway stations and wanting to help.

Public opinion does not favor a military response, and President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau do not foresee one.

However, that doesn’t mean we can’t all be on deck to support the Ukrainian people.

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Governments sent military support. Sanctions were imposed. People donate to charities and humanitarian organizations. There is even talk of banning Russian vodka in Canada.

We support all of these efforts. A message of opposition must be sent to Putin and a message of support to the Ukrainian people.

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