Canada and its allies confront “irrational” Vladimir Putin, according to Mélanie Joly

OTTAWA — Dealing with Vladimir Putin’s irrationality will be the main task of Justin Trudeau and his European allies, according to Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly.

The Prime Minister will travel to Brussels, Belgium. He will begin his whirlwind journey with a speech to the European Parliament on Wednesday, where he will emphasize the importance of the two continents working together to defend democracy in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Trudeau delivered a similar speech in Berlin two weeks ago. The Prime Minister plans to reaffirm Canada’s solidarity with a continent facing its biggest security challenge since the Second World War, explained Mélanie Joly.

“There is a degree of irrationality in the way President Putin makes decisions. And in this case, we must be prepared. We have to adapt to difficult times. I think our soldiers should also be more prepared,” said Minister Joly, Tuesday.

Trudeau will join other NATO leaders on Thursday to coordinate the military alliance’s response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine. He will also meet with other G7 leaders before heading home on Friday.

The Prime Minister toured Europe earlier this month, where he held meetings in London, Berlin and Warsaw. He also visited Canadian troops leading the multinational NATO battle group in Latvia.

Justin Trudeau will be pressured to increase Canada’s defense budget, which according to NATO estimates represents 1.39% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021.

Having also traveled across Europe in recent weeks, Mélanie Joly again underlined on Tuesday that Germany has made a historic commitment to increase its defense spending up to the NATO target of 2% of the country’s GDP.

This spending pledge marked a major shift in Germany’s military and foreign policy.

“Times have changed, the world has changed since February 24, when Russia invaded Ukraine. Germany has decided to take a very important decision by increasing its military spending. And that is what we are considering,” said Ms. Joly.

Two weeks ago in Berlin, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland hinted that there may be more money for the military in the next federal budget.

Justin Trudeau remained evasive on Tuesday when asked about the possibility of increasing military spending.

But its foreign minister has made clear that Canada needs to increase its military support to Ukraine to help it fend off a Russian attack and give Kyiv more leverage in future ceasefire talks with the Kremlin.

“We will continue to announce more sanctions. We will also make sure to send more weapons to Ukraine, as this is the best way to put maximum pressure on Russia, but also to ensure that Ukraine can defend itself on the ground,” he added. .

“Because in the end diplomacy continues, negotiations take place. And it is important that Ukraine is in a strong position at the negotiating table.”

Trudeau spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday ahead of his later scheduled departure for Brussels. They discussed “continuing international assistance in anticipation of the upcoming NATO and G7 meetings,” Justin Trudeau’s office said in a statement.

“The two leaders urged Russia to stop targeting civilians, withdraw its military forces from Ukrainian territory and take diplomatic steps with Ukraine,” the statement also said.

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