11:53 Nov. 17, 2016
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau says that even under the new US president, Canada will not change its stance on the Kremlin
Canada will not tone down its criticism of the Kremlin, and will continue to support Ukraine in its struggle against Russian aggression.
That is how Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to a Vice News question whether the renewed ties between the White House and Moscow could effectively give President Vladimir Putin a pass on his forays into Eastern Europe.
"We've been very clear that the Russian incursion into Ukraine is unacceptable and we will continue to state that and support Ukraine in its struggle against aggression," Trudeau said.
But Canada may find itself somewhat lonelier in that regard, Vice News emphasizes.
The read-out summarizing the phone call between Trump and Putin makes no mention of Ukraine, but it does mention that the two "emphasized the importance of establishing a reliable foundation for bilateral ties by developing the trade and economic component," a clear sign that Trump is toying with rolling back Washington-imposed sanctions against Moscow for its incursion into Ukraine.
Trudeau also highlighted "other issues" — other than Ukraine — where both countries had common interests, "including Arctic cooperation and counterterrorism, including concerns around the Middle East, where there are opportunities to at least have constructive dialog with Russia in which our desires outcomes are more closely aligned and, as you all know, I certainly believe in positive engagement."
But, he iterated, "we will not back off on our condemnation of the illegitimate and unhelpful actions that Russia has taken in Ukraine."
Under Trudeau's predecessor, Canada committed 200 troops to a training mission in western Ukraine, to help equip local forces for the ongoing fighting in the east. It will be up to Trudeau to renew that mission, if he chooses, in March.