Canada prepares more aid as Ukraine war enters what former US defense secretary calls ‘critical’ phase

International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan said Canada was looking for more ways to help the humanitarian crisis in eastern Europe as about 100 troops were deployed to Poland to help refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

“The work in progress is quite extensive, but as you know, the need is also quite great given the atrocities being committed on the ground in Ukraine,” Sajjan said in an interview in Rosemary Barton Live which airs Sunday.

Sajjan told CBC’s chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton that Canada was coordinating with the United Nations and humanitarian agencies such as the Red Cross to provide aid and additional materials in the form of cleaning kits, mattresses and tents.

“We are trying to move as many resources as possible,” he said. “The situation – we all know how dire it is, how widespread it is.”

About 100 Canadian troops are deployed to Poland to help with the crisis, and Sajjan insists one of their main tasks is helping with refugee processing. Almost five million Ukrainians have left the country since the start of the war in late February, with the majority heading to neighboring Poland.

VIEW | Minister of international development on Canadian aid to Ukraine:

What the Canadian Troops in Poland will ask for

Rosemary Barton Lives spoke with the Minister for International Development, Harjit Sajjan, about Ottawa’s decision to deploy Canadian troops to Poland this week on a humanitarian mission to help support refugees fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 7:18

Canada has sent military aid and humanitarian aid during the conflict, and Sajjan is handling the humanitarian situation.

“We have a very large medical hospital that we are ready to deploy. It turns out that a full hospital is not needed, but a part [it] will,” he said, noting where the infrastructure would be delivered was being determined now.

Sajjan said Canada was coordinating with humanitarian agencies to ensure aid was actually getting to where it needed to be. Repeated attempts to build humanitarian corridors into some of the most dangerous parts of the country – such as the south near the port city of Mariupol – have failed.

“The UN and other NGOs are risking their lives to get supplies, because Russia has not been fully cooperative,” Sajjan said.

In a statement released earlier this week, the opposition Conservatives criticized the government’s response to the refugee crisis, saying they had called for Ukraine to have long called for visa-free travel to Canada.

“Canada should not wait until the 50th day of the war in Ukraine to bring additional resources to Eastern Europe to help our Ukrainian friends and family fleeing the conflict,” Conservative immigration critic Jasraj Singh Hallan said in a statement.

Ukraine needs ‘as many weapons as needed’: Panetta

In a separate interview, former US defense secretary Leon Panetta told Barton that the war in Ukraine is now entering a “critical” third phase, in which Russia is now focusing its efforts on securing territory in southern and eastern Ukraine after failing to capture Kyiv and then embarking on a destructive campaign.

The focus, Panetta said, should still be for the United States and its allies to provide Ukraine with “as many weapons as necessary” to assist them in their cause.

“We all have a lot of confidence in Ukraine’s ability to fight bravely and bravely and can actually successfully defend itself against a force that without a doubt exceeds their numbers,” he said.

VIEW | Leon Panetta discusses the course of the war in Ukraine:

Russo-Ukrainian war has reached ‘critical third phase’: former US defense secretary

Rosemary Barton Live spoke with former US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta about Russia’s shift in strategy in its invasion of Ukraine, and why this next phase of the war on the east side is a critical time. 8:11

The former defense secretary, who also served as CIA director and as former US President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, weighed in on decisions made by current US President Joe Biden and others this week that Russia’s actions in Ukraine amounted to genocide.

“This really comes close to what I think is the definition of genocide, which is Russia’s attempt to essentially annihilate Ukraine,” he said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week it was “very true” more people were calling Russia’s actions genocide.

Asked how he thought the war in Ukraine could end, Panetta said he believed it was important for Ukraine to continue fighting and eventually enforce a negotiated resolution.

“Putin is a bully, and the only thing he really understands is power.”

You can watch the full episode of Rosemary Barton Live on CBC Gem, CBC streaming streaming service.

Clara Burton

"Geek zombie. Subtly charming social media scholar. Beer enthusiast. Lifelong bacon pioneer."

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