Canada must immediately supply Ukraine with heavy weapons as Russia launched a ground offensive to take control of the east of the country, says the head of an organization representing the interests of Ukrainian Canadians.
Igor Mikhalchyshyn, executive director of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) in Ottawa, said weapons are needed now to destroy Russian tanks. He said that Russia is committing war crimes against the Ukrainian people and its actions amount to genocide.
Canada provides military and humanitarian aid, but heavy weapons are needed because Ukrainians need to defend themselves. The federal budget includes another $500 million for military assistance to Ukraine.
“We are very concerned about what we are seeing. We are talking to our friends and family in Ukraine who are experiencing this live and in real time. It's a feeling of helplessness that we can't go and do more, but we, Canada, can do more,” he said.
Mikhalchyshyn said that Canadians are showing support for Ukraine, with people holding fundraisers and flying Ukrainian flags in their homes and businesses. The federal government must also act.
“Mere words are not enough. We need words to be quickly followed by action as the situation continues to deteriorate,” he said.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces need tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, multiple rocket launchers, anti-aircraft systems and fighter jets, as well as maritime defense and anti-ship missiles for coastal defense, according to a press release from the Ukrainian Congress of Canada dated April 14.
On Monday, April 18, the President of Ukraine, in a video message, said that Russia had launched an offensive to take control of eastern Ukraine.
“Now we can already state that Russian troops have begun the battle for Donbass,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
He said that "a significant part of the entire Russian army is now focused on this direction."