National security experts say Canada can and should be more engaged in efforts to de-escalate tensions along Ukraine’s border, where Russia is increasing troops, but should focus on its diplomatic strength.
In an interview on CTV’s Question Hour that aired on Sunday, former CSIS director and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national security adviser, Richard Feden, said this included collaborating with NATO allies to threaten Russian aggression and further sanctions.
“We should beat the bush while arguing with our allies, maybe send a few more troops in turn, make sure the sanctions that are in place are fully respected, arguing for bigger sanctions. But I don’t think we can do much on our own,” he said.
“One of the good things that Putin has done is that he has pulled NATO together again, and I think we should build on that.”
Canadian officials are closely monitoring the situation along Ukraine’s eastern border, where Russia has sent 100,000 troops, raising concerns about the possibility of an invasion.
Trudeau spoke this week about military build-up with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, on the eve of a key meeting in Brussels between the 30-nation NATO alliance and Russia.
Zelensky reiterated that the West should be prepared to impose further sanctions against Russia as the situation escalates.
Russia has called on NATO to guarantee that it will not expand eastward into Ukraine, a demand coalition and Ukraine itself vehemently denied.
On Wednesday, Trudeau told reporters that Canada condemns the Russian offensive and build-up of troops and is ready to move forward with “significant” consequences if necessary.
Fadden said he does not believe Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking full control of Ukraine.
“I think it’s back to the days when the Soviet Union controlled a bunch of countries in Eastern Europe without owning it. I don’t think it wants to invade Ukraine and take it over, I think he wants to find some way to ensure some measure of control other than going through a full-scale war,” he said.
Former Defense and Foreign Affairs Minister Peter McKay told CTV’s Question Period that Canada could do more diplomatically, noting that the government has been “slightly absent” from talks up to this point.
,[U.S.] President Biden is making the rounds and calling on countries to lend their support. We are not a part of those discussions,” he said.
“I would suggest that what Russia fears the most and what Putin doesn’t want to see is not joining NATO, but a resilient, independent, sovereign, corruption-free Ukraine – and that’s what we should help do, resiliency. is building up and building its capacity within governance.This is one of them [areas] Where Canada can add value. ,
As part of Operation UNIFIER, Canada sends a group of about 200 Canadian Armed Forces members to Ukraine every six months.
Slated to conclude in March 2022, the focus of the operation is to aid security force training for capacity and capacity building.
The government has funded humanitarian efforts there through international organizations, and provided development assistance to the country, focusing on electoral, judicial, anti-corruption, and health and social policy enhancement.
Faden said discussions about Canada’s role in Ukraine reinforce the need for a foreign security policy.
“We need a foreign policy that is holistic and comprehensive so that we can allocate military, diplomatic and economic equipment. Right now, I think ad hoc is too much,” he said.
With a file from the Canadian Press.