Trudeau cabinet mulls new Russia-Ukraine moves as US suggests new export controls

OTTAWA — The Liberal government’s cabinet retreat ends later in the day with mounting pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take further substantive action to address the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

OTTAWA — The Liberal government’s cabinet retreat ends later in the day with mounting pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take further substantive action to address the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

Options could see Canada join its NATO allies in imposing export controls on Russia to deprive it of sensitive artificial intelligence-related technology, which is being actively considered by the United States. United.

Last week, Trudeau announced that Canada was providing Ukraine with a $120 million loan aimed at bolstering the country’s economy in the face of continued threats from Russia, but said the government was considering other measures that would would be discussed by his cabinet.

But the government is under increasing pressure to do more.

Ukrainian Canadians and the Ukrainian government in Kyiv are calling on Canada to supply arms to the Ukrainian army, impose new sanctions on Russia and extend Canada’s military training mission of its forces in past its expiration date at the end of March.

Russia has positioned around 100,000 troops across Ukraine’s borders, along with tanks and other heavy artillery, raising fears across Europe and the NATO military alliance of an invasion, which Russia has denied.

Senior White House officials on Tuesday discussed some of the options to counter any further Russian incursion into Ukraine, following the Kremlin’s 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula and its fomenting of Russian-backed separatist rebels in the region. eastern Ukraine, which claimed thousands of lives. Lives.

US officials say a new round of export controls that would prevent Russian President Vladimir Putin from accessing some highly coveted technologies are being considered by Washington and its allies.

“In addition to financial sanctions, which have an immediate and visible effect the day they are implemented, we are also prepared to impose new export controls that would strategically harm Putin in the medium term,” a senior official said. American. , speaking on condition of anonymity in accordance with the basic rules of the press conference.

The official said the export controls are effective because they take advantage of “the global dominance of American-sourced software, technologies and tools” that extend to artificial intelligence, defence, aerospace and other sectors.

“The export control options we are considering alongside our allies and partners would clash quite harshly with Putin’s strategic ambitions to industrialize his economy,” the US official said. “And that would hurt areas that are important to him.”

On Tuesday, three Conservative MPs called on the Liberal government to redirect weapons originally intended for Kurdish peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq to Ukraine.

The closed-door Trudeau cabinet meeting in Ottawa takes place against a much broader backdrop of high-stakes diplomacy in Paris as top advisers from Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine – the so-called “format Normandy” – to reduce tensions and find a solution.

Ottawa followed its allies in another key decision on Tuesday by ordering the children and family members of its embassy staff in Ukraine to leave the country.

The decision came after Britain announced it would withdraw some of its diplomats from its Ukrainian embassy and after the US State Department decided to order the families of its Ukrainian embassy staff to leave.

“The safety and security of Canadians, our staff and their families at our missions abroad is our top priority,” said Global Affairs Canada.

On Monday, the Global Affairs ruling updated its travel warning against non-essential travel to Ukraine, which has been in effect since last week. The advisory now suggests that Canadians in Ukraine consider leaving.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 26, 2022.

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

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