Canadian Foreign Minister Headed to the Polish-Ukraine Border

Canadian Foreign Minister Headed to the Polish-Ukraine Border
Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly rises during Question Period, Feb. 14, 2022 in Ottawa. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)
The Canadian Press

OTTAWA—Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says she is headed to the Polish-Ukraine border on Tuesday to make sure that Canada's latest supply of military aid flows into the war-ravaged country.

Joly says she will also be meeting with her Polish counterparts in Warsaw to discuss the refugee crisis spawned by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Joly was speaking from Geneva on Monday, where she earlier told a United Nations panel that Russia lied to the world in the run-up to its invasion of Ukraine.

Joly also called on Moscow to respect the rights of Russian people who have taken to the streets to protest their government's decision to invade Ukraine.

Joly was in Geneva as Russian and Ukrainian delegations met for talks earlier in the day in an attempt to defuse the biggest land conflict on the continent since the Second World War.

Outmatched Ukrainian forces were holding off the onslaught of a land, air and sea attack by Russia as President Vladimir Putin raised the stakes further by placing his country's nuclear forces on alert.

"Russia is the only one to blame for this crisis. It chose to resort to lies and violence and fabricate all the pieces of a crisis to try and undermine the rule of law and violate the rights of people," Joly told the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva.

"Worse, they're trying to justify their war by spreading a false rhetoric and attempting to manipulate the principles of human rights to support their illegal and illegitimate violence."

Joly also condemned the arrests of Russian citizens who have protested the war in demonstrations across their country.

"We call on Russia to respect the human rights not only of Ukrainians, but also of its own citizens, who by thousands have taken to the streets in protest of this unjust war."

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced Monday an immediate ban on all Canadian financial institutions from conducting transactions with the Russian central bank.

In addition to that prohibition, Canada is imposing an asset freeze and a dealings prohibition on Russian sovereign wealth funds.

"Canada and its allies continue to take concerted action to ensure that Russia's invasion of Ukraine will be a strategic failure. This has never been done before at this scale—today we are taking a historic step by directly censuring Russia's central bank," Freeland said in a written statement.

By Mike Blanchfield