The government has announced a round of new sanctions targeting individuals with ties to the Russian government — including President Vladimir Putin’s daughters — and plans to send heavy artillery to Ukraine as Russian forces step up their attacks in the country’s eastern regions.
Katerina Tikhonova and Maria Vorontsova, Putin’s adult daughters, are among 14 individuals being added to Canada’s sanctions list. The U.S. and the U.K. made similar announcements earlier this month.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a press conference in New Brunswick on Tuesday that Canada will send heavy artillery to support Ukrainian forces.
“We’ve been in close contact with President (Volodymyr) Zelensky since the very beginning and we’re very responsive to what it is that they need most specifically,” Trudeau said. “Their most recent request from Canada is to help them with heavy artillery, because that’s what the phase of the war is in right now.”
WATCH: Trudeau says Canada will soon send heavily artillery to Ukraine
The federal budget tabled earlier this month earmarked $500 million for military aid to Ukraine. Last week, Defence Minister Anita Anand said a portion of that aid will come from current inventory but the rest will need to be purchased.
Trudeau said Tuesday that more details about the heavy artillery shipment will be released in “the coming days.”
On Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden held a call with allied leaders, including Prime Minister Trudeau, to discuss the ongoing war and measures to hold Russia accountable.
Maria Lavrova, the wife of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, was also named in the latest round of sanctions.
Russia has ratcheted up its battle for control of Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, intensifying its assaults on cities and towns along a front hundreds of kilometres long in what officials on both sides have described as a new phase of the war.
After a Russian push to the capital failed to overrun the city, the Kremlin declared that its main goal would be the capture of the eastern Donbas region. If successful, that offensive would give President Putin a vital piece of Ukraine and a victory that he could present to the Russian people as justification for the mounting casualties and economic sanctions brought on by Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24.
In recent weeks, Russian forces withdrew from Kyiv and regrouped in preparation for an all-out offensive in the Donbas. Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces in the region for the past eight years and have declared two independent republics that have been recognized by Russia.
WATCH: Ukrainian MP says Canadian financial aid hasn’t arrived yet
Canada's inflation rate inches up again, to new 31-year high of 6.8% – CBC News
The cost of living continues to rise at the fastest pace in decades, with Canada’s official inflation rate rising at a 6.8 per cent annual pace in April, a new 31-year high.
Statistics Canada reported on Wednesday that the cost of living crept higher mainly because of increases in the cost of food and shelter. Food prices have risen by 9.7 per cent in the past year, while shelter costs are up by 7.4 per cent.
Global factors, including the war in Ukraine disrupting the price and supply of grains, as well as outbreaks of bird flu and extreme weather events in the United States, are combining to drive up the cost of meat and produce.
Among the increases:
- Fresh vegetables, up 8.2 per cent
- Fresh fruit, up 10 per cent
- Meat, up 10.1 per cent
- Bread, up 12.2 per cent
- Coffee, up 13.7 per cent
- Pasta, up 19.6 per cent.
“Rising food prices are a global issue, and we can directly correlate those increases to what’s happening in Ukraine,” economist Royce Mendes with financial services conglomerate Desjardins told CBC News in an interview on Wednesday.
“Food is shipped from all over the world to Canada,” Mendes said, “and our weakening dollar makes it more expensive to import.”
Gasoline has been a major driver of inflation of late, but pump prices actually fell by 0.7 per cent in April after spiking by more than 11 per cent the previous month. Compared to where they were a year ago, gas prices are still up by more than a third, however.
Economists had been expecting the overall inflation figure to ease slightly from March’s 6.7 per cent level, but instead it went slightly higher. That’s a troubling sign that inflation has yet to peak, even though it’s at its highest level since 1991.
The U.S. has also seen its inflation rate skyrocket in recent months, but numbers for April suggest that the wave may have crested there, with the official figure cooling to 8.3 per cent in April from 8.5 per cent in March.
“Core inflation has been accelerating in Canada for a few months now, in contrast to the U.S.,” Mendes said. “What went up still isn’t coming down in Canadian inflation, and might not any time soon.”
The high inflation number makes it even more likely that the Bank of Canada will hike its benchmark interest rate at its next policy meeting in early June.
Russia closing CBC's Moscow bureau in retaliation for Canada banning Russian state TV – CBC.ca
Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Wednesday it was closing the Moscow bureau of the CBC and withdrawing visas and accreditation from the public broadcaster’s journalists, after Canada banned Russian state TV station Russia Today.
“With regret we continue to notice open attacks on the Russian media from the countries of the so-called collective West who call themselves civilized,” ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told reporters.
“A decision has been taken to make retaliatory, I underscore retaliatory, measures in relation to the actions of Canada: the closure of the Moscow bureau of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, including the annulation of the accreditations and visas of their journalists.”
💬<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Zakharova?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Zakharova</a>: In response to Ottawa’s ban on <a href=”https://twitter.com/RT_com?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@RT_com</a> and <a href=”https://twitter.com/RTenfrancais?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@RTenfrancais</a>, the Moscow office of Canada’s national public broadcaster <a href=”https://twitter.com/CBC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@CBC</a> will be shut down and its journalists’ accreditation and visas – canceled. <a href=”https://t.co/AeHyAU9RYb”>pic.twitter.com/AeHyAU9RYb</a>
Zakharova said Ottawa had chosen what she cast as a “Russophobic” path, including censorship of the media.
The Russian Embassy in Ottawa confirmed the development.
CBC is aware of the development and is gathering information.
Russia last month sanctioned 61 Canadians, a list that included a number of CBC employees as well as other Canadian journalists.
Canada on Tuesday introduced a bill in the Senate that will ban Russian President Vladimir Putin and about 1,000 members of his government and military from entering the country, as it continues to ratchet up sanctions over Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.
In March, Putin signed a law imposing a prison term of up to 15 years for spreading intentionally “fake” news about the military, prompting some Western media organizations to pull their reporters out of Russia.
Russian officials do not use the word “invasion” and say Western media have provided an excessively partial narrative of the war in Ukraine that ignores Russia’s concerns about the enlargement of NATO and alleged persecution of Russian-speakers.
Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov has repeatedly scolded the West for what he calls an undemocratic crackdown on Russian state media organizations that he says provided an alternative to Western narratives.
Putin casts the war as an inevitable confrontation with the United States, which he accuses of threatening Russia by meddling in its backyard and enlarging the North Atlantic Treaty Organization military alliance.
Ukraine says it is fighting an imperial-style land grab and that Putin’s claims of genocide and persecution of Russian-speakers are nonsense.
A report on wildfire in Lytton, B.C., says more community fireproofing needed
VANCOUVER — A wildfire that destroyed the British Columbia village of Lytton couldn’t have been stopped, even with an area-wide emergency response, says a new report.
Published this month by the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, the report says scientists found the root cause was “easily ignitable structures and homes, and not just a wildfire problem.”
Even the best possible fire response would have been “overwhelmed” because at least 20 buildings were fully engulfed within 80 minutes and would have required at least 60 fire trucks to contain, it says.
Alan Westhaver, a wildland urban fire consultant and co-author of the report, said there was nothing the firefighters could have done to prevent the spread once it had started.
“It’s an overwhelming amount of fire in a very short span of time,” he said in an interview Tuesday.
“Firefighting is important. It’s going to be critical, but we have to change the conditions around our homes so that fewer homes ignite.”
Westhaver said there needs to be more co-ordination between governments, agencies, homeowners, corporate landowners and private businesses to help prevent future disasters.
“Everyone in the community needs to work together and do their share and deal with issues on their property because fire does not stop at property lines.”
The report includes 33 specific recommendations for ways to mitigate wildfire risk, while reducing exposure and vulnerabilities within so-called home ignition zones.
They include mandatory mowing of tall grass and weeds around residential areas and evacuation routes, and development changes like minimum distances between buildings. Itwould mean at least an eight-metre distance between one-storey structures and 13 metres for two-storey buildings.
The report also says flammable objects such as firewood should be separated from main buildings.
Wildfire embers are often responsible for starting small spot fires within communities, so making homes more resistant to fires should be a priority, Westhaver added.
Two people were killed in the Lytton fire and most of the village burned to the ground on June 30 last year in the middle of a heat wave that marked the hottest day ever recorded in Canada at 49.6 C in Lytton.
Westhaver said the report findings should also be used to help other communities prepare for wildfires.
“Lytton was an extreme event, but it wasn’t exceptional. The disaster followed a very familiar pattern that we see at virtually all other major wildland urban fire disasters,” he said.
“Wildland fires are inevitable, but wildland urban fire disasters are not.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2022.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
Brieanna Charlebois, The Canadian Press
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