Trudeau Signs $3-Billion Security Deal For Ukraine On 2nd Anniversary Of Russian Invasion | CBC News

Why leaders visited this Ukrainian airport on anniversary of Russia’s invasionHostomel Airport, located just outside of Kyiv, was the site of one of the first battles between Ukrainian troops and invading Russian forces two years ago. CBC’s Margaret Evans explains the significance of the visit to the airport by leaders from countries such as Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed a deal in Kyiv on Saturday committing Canada to a $3.02-billion security assistance package for Ukraine, a milestone event to mark the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

He was joined by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

Trudeau’s visit — his third to the country since the eruption of major hostilities — comes as Western support for the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wavers. Billions of dollars in military and economic aid is being held up in the U.S. Congress.

The security assistance deal, first promised by allies  last summer as a bridge toward Ukraine’s membership in NATO, is a mixture of economic and military aid. It’s meant to be stable, predictable support that Ukrainian government and Armed Forces can count on as they continue to resist Moscow’s drive to absorb the country. Other allies, led by G7 nations, have signed similar agreements.

“This is a moment for us to both thank Ukraine and demonstrate our solidarity,” Trudeau told Canadian reporters following a virtual meeting of G7 leaders.

“As they stand and fight for their territorial integrity, their sovereignty, their language, their culture, their very identity and their right to choose their own future, they’re also standing and fighting for the international rules based order and the principles that underpin all of our democracies.” 

WATCH | Trudeau on Canada’s support for Ukraine: 

Canadians still support Ukraine despite ‘faltering’ by Conservatives, Trudeau saysSpeaking from Kyiv as world leaders marked the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians remain ‘overwhelmingly in favour’ of supporting Ukraine despite ‘Russian misinformation and disinformation’ and what he called an ‘unfortunate’ decision by federal Conservatives to vote against economic measures for Ukraine.

The $3.02-billion funding commitment from Canada is for the current year. How much will be committed over the 10-year lifetime of the agreement is unclear.

What Trudeau signed on Saturday is not a binding treaty, but rather an agreement that sets out a series of measures and expectations between the two governments over the next decade. A major portion of the text spells out what Canada is already doing in terms of aid and assistance, including participation in various allied equipment coalitions that are arming Ukraine.

Deal puts framework for support in placeThe deal also appears to set in place a framework for Ukraine to get better access to Canada’s defence industrial base, but major portions of the text are devoted to building the country’s “future” security force.

For example, unlike NATO’s self-defence clause, the security assistance agreement sees Canada committed to “provide support to Ukraine in the event of future Russian attacks or aggression.” That support, however, is not defined.

Trudeau said that is deliberate.

“One of the great fears that I’ve heard from many many Ukrainians is if there is a negotiated peace now or in a year to come, that’ll just give Russia a few years to re mobilize to rearm and then to complete the job that they failed to start to complete two years ago when they hope to take Kyiv in a matter of days, if not weeks,” he said.

“We are demonstrating that Canada and other countries will be unflinching in our support for Ukraine over the long term.”

There are also economic assurances and pledges of humanitarian relief and help with de-mining.

Alexander Lanoszka, an assistant professor of international relations at the University of Waterloo, said Canada’s security agreement — at 19 pages — is longer than the one signed recently by the United Kingdom, and contains some interesting provisions, notably in helping the Ukrainians push back against Russian disinformation.

It is, however, a long way from the kind of defence that full-fledged NATO membership would provide.

“It’s not an insubstantial document,” said Lanoszka, who is a fellow at the Otawa-based Macdonald-Laurier Institute. 

“It’s long, and sometimes the length is the message itself. Certain points are much more elaborate than those in the U.K.-Ukraine agreement, but it’s not at all a substitute for Alliance commitment.” 

Lanoszka said he questions how the agreement will help Ukraine hold the line in the near-term.

“It is not really a help to Ukraine right now, because Ukraine’s needs are much more tangible than what this document can provide at the moment,” he said. 

“Ukraine needs artillery. It needs more ammunition. It needs better training and more training. There are aspects to this agreement that speak to those particular issues. But to the extent that this document promises things that Canada is not doing already, those things will become operational — or online — for several months at the earliest, if not much longer.” 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pauses during a ceremony to mark the second anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Kyiv on Saturday. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)Italy also signed its bilateral security arrangement with Ukraine on Saturday. Other allied nations that have previously inked packages include Britain, Germany, France and Denmark.

On X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, von der Leyen wrote: “More than ever we stand firmly by Ukraine. Financially, economically, militarily, morally. Until the country is finally free.”

The events in Kyiv came shortly after a Russian drone attack struck a residential building in the southern city of Odesa, killing at least one person and just a week after Ukrainian troops were forced to withdraw from the strategic eastern city of Avdiivka, which they had fought to hold for months. Ukraine’s forces reportedly inflicted thousands of casualties on Russia troops. 

Also, in Kyiv on Saturday, Trudeau laid a wreath at the Wall of Heroes Memorial Wall, an ever-expanding memorial with photo tributes to fallen soldiers.

The visit also comes as Zelenskyy’s government tries to pass a revised bill to expand mobilization in Ukraine. 

A senior Pentagon official recently estimated that Russia has taken as many as 310,000 casualties — both killed and wounded — since the full-scale invasion began.

Ukraine hasn’t published its military casualty figures but informal estimates put its losses in the tens of thousands. Relief organizations estimate more than 30,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed.

WATCH | Breaking down the state of the war: 

Where Russia’s war with Ukraine stands after 2 yearsAfter two years of a battle between Russian force and Ukrainian determination, The National breaks down the state of the war.

Earlier this month, Ukrainian lawmakers passed through first reading a revised mobilization bill after the initial draft of the bill saw significant political and social pushback.

The country’s parliament has tentatively backed the revised draft of the bill.

The legislation would lower the age of military service and make it harder to avoid the draft as Kyiv struggles to find enough soldiers to maintain its defences.

In its current form, the legislation would lower the age at which people can be mobilized for combat duty by two years to 25. Tighter sanctions for draft evasion, including asset freezes, are also included.

Trudeau speaks with Ukrainian soldiers as he visits the Wall of Remembrance in Kyiv on June 10, 2023. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Pool/The Associated Press)Ukraine’s Ambassador to Canada Yuliya Kovaliv said the mobilization bill is also about creating balance within the Armed Forces because some soldiers have been on active duty for two years without a break.

“We need to provide rotations for them,” Kovaliv told host David Cochrane in a Friday interview with CBC’s Power & Politics.

“So the people need to go home. The people need to have a rest. And we need to recruit more people so there will be a rotation.”

Kovaliv, who recently lost her 35-year-old cousin to fighting at the frontline, said Ukrainian troops’ morale would improve with the delivery of more weapons from Western countries.

Trudeau’s visit to Kyiv followed a similar morale-boosting excursion by U.S. lawmakers, who met with Zelenskyy on Friday.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer led a congressional delegation to demonstrate U.S. support and increase the pressure on House Republicans to pass a foreign aid bill that includes a further $60 billion in assistance for Ukraine, as well as support for Israel.

On Saturday, Schumer visited the frontline in the eastern portion of the country. 

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