Spread the love

Now is the time for urgency in the face of the Russian threat, warn Trudeau and Tusk

Photo: Sergei Gapon Agence France-Presse Le premier ministre canadien, Justin Trudeau, et son homologue polonais, Donald Tusk, se sont serré la main lundi lors d’une conférence de presse commune à Varsovie.

A call for a start imbued with gravity. Faced with the Russian threat buzzing at the gates of Europe, the time has come for urgency: such is the signal from the meeting which took place on Monday in Warsaw between the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and his Polish counterpart, Donald Tusk. The urgency to accelerate material aid to Ukraine, in dire need of ammunition and weapons in the face of the Russian aggressor, but also to speed up the rearmament of Western armies, which are still struggling.

Sealing his alliance with Mr. Tusk, Mr. Trudeau praised the “unwavering support” of the Poles for their Ukrainian neighbor, still welcoming nearly a million refugees to this day. “Donald, I know you understand that Ukraine’s fight is everyone’s fight,” he said. At the forefront of the Russian invasion, which has been devastating its neighboring country for two years, Poland serves as a hub for humanitarian and military aid, in addition to constituting a bulwark on the eastern flank of NATO, which the country joined in 1999.

“Poland and Canada share the same position on the most important geopolitical issues, including the Russian attack on Ukraine and the future of our region,” said Prime Minister Tusk, following the a tête-à-tête lasting more than an hour in his chancery. It was a first meeting between the two leaders since the pro-European coalition led by Mr. Tusk was propelled to power in December, following a legislative election which had defeated the national populists of PiS.

“Tusk is committed to rallying Western support for Ukraine, and Canada has been at the forefront of that support from the very beginning,” analyzes Wojciech Przybylski, director of the Visegrad think tank Insight. For Warsaw, “Canada is a very important transatlantic partner, although not as powerful as the United States, but which speaks on its behalf.”

Respect commitments

In addition to Polish-Canadian trade relations, the reception of refugees, energy issues and the presence of Canadian troops on Polish soil, the possible transfer to Ukraine of “300 billion dollars” of Russian assets was also discussed. frozen by the West, with a view to using these funds “for the benefit of Ukrainian defense against Russian aggression.”

But it was above all the theme of war, and the shadow of Vladimir Putin gravitating around it, which occupied people’s minds. With, above all, the imperative to redouble contributions to defense. Donald Tusk showed a certain firmness, calling on “all” allies, “without exception, to respect their commitments”. A barely veiled criticism, as Canada struggles to reach the threshold of 2% of GDP devoted to defense, recommended by NATO. The head of the Polish government, however, clarified, with a smirk, that he “in no way wants to break the laws of hospitality”, turning to Justin Trudeau. Touting the “valuable” ally that Canada represents, he said he was certain that, “sooner or later,” NATO members would reach the fateful milestone.

Also read

  • In Poland, a lifeline for Ukraine at war
  • Two years of war in Ukraine seen from space
  • Canada struggles to keep its military aid promises to Ukraine

At his side, Justin Trudeau defended Canada's level of military investment, boasting of being the “seventh largest contributor” to NATO in absolute spending, one place after Poland. Still, the ninth economic power in the world appears to be a dunce vis-à-vis Poland with a GDP half its size. The Central European country, marked by a history of Russian and Soviet invasions, already devotes nearly 4% of its budget to its defensive capabilities. Since the shock caused by Russian aggression, Warsaw has been arming itself like never before. When it comes to military support for kyiv, here again, Ottawa is lagging behind. As recently revealed by Le Devoir, nearly 60% of the value of military aid promised over the past two years by Canada to Ukraine has still not been delivered. received in Ukraine.

Like the voluntarism shared by Poland and the Baltic countries, at the forefront of the Atlantic alliance, Donald Tusk issued a severe warning, to Europeans above all. The Kremlin having decreed a war economy, there is a need, according to him, to surpass Russian arms and munitions production capacities, “not in the years to come, but in the months to come.” “Otherwise, the West will become another victim of Russian aggression. […]. Europe and Poland must be able to defend themselves against Russia. » As for the Canadian Great North, not far from Vladimir Putin's Russia, it has become a “new front for the security of our democracy”, underlined Justin Trudeau.

On the Old Continent, dignitaries are multiplying such summons. For example, the President of the Czech Republic, Petr Pavel — a former NATO general — believes that Russia could restore its combat capability within “five to seven years.” Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin warned during a meeting with U.S. troops deployed to Poland in November that “Putin will not stop if he takes Ukraine.” “It will be the turn of the Baltics, and then you and your comrades-in-arms will be on the front lines to fight Putin, whom we should have — or could have — stopped sooner. » In Sweden, the army general staff calls on society to “change its theoretical vision of war”.

During a surprise visit to Kiev on Saturday to mark the second anniversary of the invasion, Justin Trudeau announced additional aid to Ukraine worth $2.7 billion, including $322 million in nothing only for military needs. However, we do not currently know when these new promises will be honored. “Ukraine needs a lot more ammunition, armor, drones, anti-missile equipment,” admitted Mr. Trudeau, specifying that “many countries are facing this same problem.” And for good reason, Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov noted with bitterness on Sunday that half of foreign weapons arrive late.

Strengthening support for Ukraine

“More political will is needed, underlines DevoirWojciech Przybylski. Most NATO countries view the war in Ukraine as a marginal conflict. We must realize that this war is already underway, beyond Ukraine. Not that missiles are still flying there, but a psychological and disinformation war is being waged… This should encourage us to act more, to strengthen support for Ukraine. »

Time is running out, with one series of debacles on the Ukrainian Eastern Front. The town of Adviïvka, until then a Ukrainian fortress, has just fallen into the hands of Russian troops; the American Congress, infiltrated by Trumpist forces, remains plunged into paralysis when it comes to supporting Ukraine. “We must put pressure on Russia decisively,” repeated Prime Minister Tusk, who calls for speeding up the delivery of weapons to Ukraine. In the Ukrainian trenches, blood is flowing, while the lack of shells, drones and other equipment to repel the invader is felt.

A reality that Serhii Yevtushenko, in his thirties, knows too well. Last June, the Ukrainian soldier lost the use of his left foot when he jumped on a mine in the Bakhmut region. He has only one ambition, to return to combat, “in March, perhaps”, despite his prosthesis. “My comrades are carrying out tasks in the Avdiïvka region. Their situation is very difficult, but they are holding on,” he wrote, laconically. “They need weapons and ammunition. And we need it to win as quickly as possible and save the lives of my comrades. »

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116