Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent a forceful rebuke of Russia at the conclusion of the G7 Leaders’ Summit, which was taken over by the arrival of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who hoped to shore up more support for his country.
The support of allies has been crucial to Ukraine’s survival amid a Russian invasion, and countries pushing for a ceasefire must recognize Russia is squarely to blame, Trudeau said Sunday in Hiroshima, Japan.
“Had we not been there with significant military support, Ukraine would not be standing today,” Trudeau told reporters at a news conference after attending the G7 Leaders’ Summit.
“We will not hesitate to continue to ensure that Russia does not succeed,” he said.
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Zelenskyy arrived in Hiroshima on Saturday after G7 nations announced new sanctions on Russia and invited partner countries from the Global South to the summit, in hopes of building broader alliances in the face of geopolitical threats from Russia and Ukraine.
During the three-day summit, the United States confirmed it will allow western allies to send American-made fighter jets to support Ukraine’s war effort.
Asked how Canada might support that effort, Trudeau said the Canadian military’s ongoing effort could include training pilots. “We’re certainly not opposed to help in all sorts of different ways.”
Trudeau, who met with the Ukrainian president Sunday morning, said Zelenskyy’s physical presence in Hiroshima made a difference.
The G7 summit hosted leaders of emerging economies such as India, Brazil and Indonesia, as well as representatives from less-developed nations. Some countries in that category are more economically dependent on Russia and have been more hesitant to criticize its actions.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who met with Trudeau Sunday, has called for a ceasefire and proposed a club of nations including Brazil to mediate peace.
At the same time, he has refused to provide weapons to Ukraine, made comments ascribing some blame to Ukraine for Russia’s invasion and said the U.S. and Europe are stimulating the fighting.
Trudeau did not comment on specific leaders’ approaches to the conflict, nor did he weigh in on his discussions with Lula. But he decried suggestions that a negotiated ceasefire is the solution when Russia could simply end the war by halting its incursion.
“It is not a ceasefire that is needed. It is peace. And that peace can only be achieved if Russia decides to stop its ongoing invasion of a sovereign neighbour,” the prime minister said.
Against a backdrop of a city that had been devastated by an atomic bomb during the Second World War, the G7 leaders committed to chart a new course on nuclear nonproliferation.
“Most of us don’t remember a time where the world was under threat by nuclear war,” Trudeau said, when asked whether the setting and leaders’ visit to a Hiroshima memorial had coloured their talks.
“The Cold War ended a long time ago and the danger of nuclear war is unfortunately being forgotten by many.”
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Trudeau said Russia’s reckless nuclear rhetoric, along with threats from North Korea and uncertainty around Iran, have brought home the need to remember the dangers of nuclear proliferation.
“We need to take very, very seriously the threats to global peace and security that are around us right now.”
With controversy around allegations of Chinese meddling in Canada’s two most recent federal elections dominating the political conversation at home, the G7 leaders also agreed to add language on foreign interference to their joint communique.
“Foreign interference is a fact of life in all our democracies. It is nothing new,” he said, though he did not share any specifics of the leaders’ discussions.
“There was clear understanding and support that this is something we have to grapple with.”
Trudeau added that the democracies must strike a balance when it comes to broader relations with the world’s second-largest economy.
“We cannot simply choose to ignore China’s existence,” he said.
Still, the G7 leaders have agreed to try reducing their economic dependence on the giant.
“Economic security means having different options, having resilience in our supply chains. That’s something that’s ultimately good for the entire world,” said Trudeau.
Trudeau’s attendance at the G7 summit follows his first official visit to South Korea, where the two countries reached agreements on critical minerals and youth mobility.
As part of its plan to counterbalance China’s growing influence in the region, Canada is vying to strengthen ties with countries like South Korea and Japan.
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