The relocated Canadian embassy in Lviv has closed and staff have fled Ukraine as the Russian attack on Ukraine that began early Thursday continues, according to a source.
The source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said staff have crossed the border into neighbouring Poland.
Canada moved its embassy earlier this month from the capital, Kyiv, to Lviv in the western part of the country in anticipation of a Russian invasion.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine and called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw all military forces from the country.
“Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s egregious attack on Ukraine,” Trudeau said in a statement late Wednesday.
“These unprovoked actions are a clear further violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They are also in violation of Russia’s obligations under international law and the Charter of the United Nations.”
The prime minister is meeting Thursday morning with G7 partners and said he would work quickly with NATO and Canada’s allies “to collectively respond to these reckless and dangerous acts, including by imposing significant sanctions in addition to those already announced.”
Trudeau said Wednesday Russia’s actions will be met with more severe consequences.
“Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected and the Ukrainian people must be free to determine their own future,” he said.
On Monday, Trudeau announced a new round of sanctions on Russia and ordered the deployment of another 460 Canadian Armed Forces personnel — army, navy and air force — to join NATO’s mission in eastern Europe to reassure allies bordering Russia.
Trudeau said Wednesday Russia’s actions will be met with more severe consequences.
Bob Rae, Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, called the attack “a grotesque war crime.”
“Putin is the cause of all this. We cannot let him win,” Rae said on Twitter. “C’mon people, stop pretending. War has started.”
Rae went on to call what is happening “brutal thuggery.”
“Unprovoked, evil, aggression. From a permanent member of the Security Council, during a meeting of the Security Council of the United Nations.”
Canadians warned to shelter in place
Last week, the federal government says it has secured escape routes through four neighbouring countries to allow Canadians to evade any Russian military incursion into Ukraine.
The office of Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said the minister has obtained assurances from her counterparts in Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia that Canadians fleeing Ukraine will be able to enter without hindrance
But the most recent travel advice for Canadians in Ukraine is warning that the government’s ability to provide consular services in Ukraine could become “severely limited” and that Canadians should not rely on the government to help them leave the country.
“If you are in Ukraine, you should shelter in place unless it is safe for you to leave the country,” the updated guidance said.
Those who choose to remain should “monitor trustworthy news sources to stay informed on the evolving situation” and follow instructions from local authorities, it said.
Eugene Lupynis, with Metro Vancouver’s Ukrainian Community Society Of Ivan Franko, said the news about the invasion has left him full of terror and concern.
“We’ve been watching this build not just for weeks but for years,” he said in an interview. “When Russia invaded Crimea and Eastern Ukraine back in 2014, there was always a feeling something would happen, but we were praying it wouldn’t.”
Lupynis’ immediate family moved to B.C. in the 1950s but he has many relatives living in western Ukraine. He said the invasion “boggles the mind” and that everyone needs to fear what Putin could do next.
“The West has always underestimated what Putin could, and would, do — he’s rewriting history in his own pen and trying to get the world to believe it.”
Canada’s penalties so far mirror the overall allied effort and are intended to help cripple Russia’s economic and political capacity to make war. Among other things, the sanctions bar Canadians from having any financial dealings with the breakaway regions.
Canadians also will be barred from purchasing Russian sovereign debt and dealing with two state-backed Russian banks.
Ottawa will also sanction members of the Russian parliament who voted to recognize the separatist regions.
Trudeau said Monday the sanctions “will remain in place until the territorial integrity of Ukraine is restored.”
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney called the invasion “devastating” and urged the West to pur an embargo on Russian oil and gas.
“Weakness invites aggression,” he said.
“The democratic world must be united in standing with Ukraine. That should begin with a hard global embargo of all Russian oil and gas exports.”
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Alberta Provincial Council issued a statement saying more than 330,000 people in Alberta claim Ukrainian ancestry. It called for Albertans to support Ukraine “militarily, politically, economically and financially.”
Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson tweeted that her province joined the federal government in calling on Russia to end its invasion, writing: “It’s hard to imagine how difficult watching the news must be for so many Manitobans who have loved ones in Ukraine.”
Quebec Premier François Legault said his province will do its part to welcome any Ukrainian refugees in the weeks to come and will offer humanitarian aid.
Former prime minister Stephen Harper issued a statement on Twitter, saying he prays for the people of Ukraine and called for NATO allies to “stand ready to honour their full treaty commitments.”
“Putin’s war on Ukraine began in 2014,” the statement reads. “This full-scale attack, unleashing death and horror on a mass scale, merely makes explicit what he has long planned…Putin and must be treated like the full global pariahs they have chosen to become. They must be sanctioned, excluded and punished at every turn.”
Former Conservative MP James Moore called on the federal government to table a motion in Parliament to expel Russian Ambassador Oleg V. Stepanov.
Putin warned other countries Wednesday that any attempt to interfere with the Russian military action would lead to “consequences they have never seen.”
He said the attack was needed to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine — a claim the U.S. had predicted he would falsely make to justify an invasion.
Putin says goal is a ‘demilitarization’ of Ukraine
In a televised address, Putin accused the U.S. and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demand to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and offer Moscow security guarantees. He said Russia’s goal was not to occupy Ukraine.
As Putin spoke, big explosions were heard in Kyiv, Kharkiv and other areas of Ukraine.
U.S. President Joe Biden denounced the “unprovoked and unjustified” attack on Ukraine and said the world will “hold Russia accountable.”
A full-blown Russian invasion could cause massive casualties and topple Ukraine’s democratically elected government. And the consequences of the conflict and resulting sanctions levied on Russia could reverberate throughout the world, affecting energy supplies in Europe, jolting global financial markets and threatening the post-Cold War balance on the continent.
Putin said the Russian military operation aims to ensure a “demilitarization” of Ukraine. He urged Ukrainian servicemen to “immediately put down arms and go home.”
Putin announced the military operation after the Kremlin said separatists in Eastern Ukraine asked Russia for military assistance to help fend off Ukrainian “aggression.” The announcement immediately fuelled fears that Moscow was offering up a pretext for war, just as the West had warned.
A short time later, the Ukrainian president rejected Moscow’s claims that his country poses a threat to Russia and said a Russian invasion would cost tens of thousands of lives.
“The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an emotional overnight address, speaking in Russian in a direct appeal to Russian citizens. “But if we come under attack, if we face an attempt to take away our country, our freedom, our lives and the lives of our children, we will defend ourselves. When you attack us, you will see our faces, not our backs.”
Zelensky said he asked to arrange a call with Putin late Wednesday, but the Kremlin did not respond.
In an apparent reference to Putin’s move to authorize the deployment of the Russian military to “maintain peace” in Eastern Ukraine, Zelensky warned that “this step could mark the start of a big war on the European continent.”
“Any provocation, any spark could trigger a blaze that will destroy everything,” he said.
Russia bans Canadian media, sends 34 French diplomats packing
Both moves are a tit-for-tat following Canada’s decision to ban Russia Today in March and France expelling 41 people from Russian diplomatic institutions in April.
“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. A decision has been taken to make retaliatory I emphasize, retaliatory measures in relation to the actions of Canada,” said Maria Zakharova, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson.
The government also revoked the visas and accreditations of CBC journalists and shut its offices in the capital.
Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it has designated 34 employees of French diplomatic institutions persona non grata, “They are ordered to leave the territory of Russia within two weeks from the date of delivery of the corresponding note to the Ambassador.”
The Ministry also declared dozens of Italian and Spanish diplomats persona non grata in response to the expulsion of Russian diplomatic staff from the countries.
However, France and Italy castigated the move with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi calling the expulsions a hostile act and emphasizing the importance of diplomatic channels.
On Tuesday, Pyotr Tolstoy, the Deputy-Speaker of Parliament said Russia’s Lower House of Parliament, the State Duma, is planning to discuss the potential withdrawal of the country from the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a list of such agreements to the State Duma, and together with the Federation Council (Upper House of Parliament), we are planning to evaluate them and then propose to withdraw from them.
Russia withdrew from the Council of Europe, now the next step is to withdraw from the WTO and the WHO, which have neglected all obligations in relation to our country,” said Tolstoy.
First case of rare monkeypox in the U.S. was someone who recently travelled to Canada – CTV News
A rare case of monkeypox has been confirmed in a man in Massachusetts who recently travelled to Canada, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
A Wednesday press release stated that the adult male was tested late Tuesday and was confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The case poses no risk to the public, and the individual is hospitalized and in good condition,” the release stated.
The Masschusetts case is the first case to be reported in the U.S. since the U.K. announced on May 7 that it had detected a case of monkeypox. Since that first case, the U.K. has identified eight more cases. Portugal has reported five cases and Spain is investigating eight potential cases.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said in an emailed statement to CTVNews.ca on Wednesday that they are monitoring the situation, and that Canada has no cases at this stage.
“PHAC is aware of and closely monitoring the current situation concerning the reporting of monkeypox cases in Europe,” a spokesperson said. “No cases have been reported to PHAC at this time.”
Monkeypox is a virus that is common in wild animals such as squirrels, with most cases occurring in Western and Central Africa. Human cases are rare, with the first one recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s.
Generally, transmission to humans occurs through a bite or “direct contact with the infected animal’s blood, body fluids, or lesions,” according to Health Canada. Once a human is infected, it is possible for it to spread between humans, but it is not spread easily and has limited transmissibility.
The symptoms of monkeypox can include a fever, muscle aches and fatigue in milder cases. Most cases resolve in a few days, but if the case is more serious, it can progress to a two to four week period in which a rash spreads and develops into pustules on the body, with lesions potentially developing on the mouth, tongue and genitalia.
The virus is similar to smallpox, but is milder and involves the swelling of lymph nodes, which is not found in smallpox cases. In Africa, the case fatality rate is estimated to be around 1-10 per cent.
Bulldog willpower and work ethic: Jason Kenney led Alberta through COVID, oil crash
EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, at the founding convention of his United Conservative Party in 2018, said he’d consider members’ input on policy but the bottom line was simple: “I hold the pen.”
Four years later, the membership took back the pen and made it clear to the driving force behind the reunification of conservatives in Alberta that the writing was on the wall and it was time for him to go.
Jason Kenney, the province’s 18th premier, told a shocked audience of invited guests and cabinet ministers Wednesday that 51 per cent support of party rank and file in his leadership review was not enough to quell internal dissension wracking his party.
He announced he would resign from the top job, saying that while his team had accomplished many things, a lack of unity put it all in jeopardy.
“We reunited the free enterprise movement in Alberta politics, and we won the largest electoral mandate in our province’s history,” said Kenney.
“We inherited profound fiscal and economic challenges. And then we went through three once in a century crises: the largest public health crisis in a century, the largest collapse of the world economy in nearly a century and for the first time ever we experienced negative oil prices.
“Despite all of that we got the job done.”
In his three years as premier, Kenney steered the province through the COVID-19 pandemic while seeking to expand the oil and gas sector, further diversify the economy and remake the public health system. On the strength of soaring oil and gas prices, he balanced the budget for the first time in years.
His trademark was bulldog willpower combined with work ethic and tenacity few could match.
His days often began early with a news conference, then meetings, question period, a speech in the house, party events, fundraisers and more phone calls long into the evening. There were Facebook townhalls and a radio show.
It was a brash, combative populist style that often sought to rally support by dividing Albertans against opponents, both real and perceived.
His favourite target was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal government. He blamed it for hamstringing the oil and gas industry through punitive legislation and a consumer carbon tax, but often ignored the fact Ottawa was paying the freight on the TransMountain pipeline to the B.C. coast.
He once publicly dismissed Trudeau as an “empty trust-fund millionaire who has the political depth of a finger bowl.” He characterized a pipeline-opposing U.S. governor as “brain dead.”
He picked fights with doctors, tearing up their master agreement just as the pandemic hit in full force in 2020. His government also tried to cut nurses’ wages.
He decried the folly of fixing the economy by “picking winners and losers” through targeted investments, only to lose $1.3 billion trying to revive the transcontinental Keystone XL pipeline.
His government fought with the Alberta Teachers’ Association and is still implementing a controversial school curriculum that almost all school boards have refused to test drive.
He created a so-called energy war room designed to fight with oil and gas foes. Instead, it stumbled through a series of gaffes, including a public fight with a children’s cartoon about Bigfoot.
His leadership, particularly during the pandemic, exposed contradictions that contributed to low poll ratings even as the economy started bouncing back.
He called for civility in public debate and then handed out earplugs in the house so his members wouldn’t have to listen to the Opposition NDP.
During COVID-19, Kenney tried to steer the province through the middle course, waiting until the last moment — as hospitals were reaching dangerous capacity — before imposing new health restrictions.
When the province reached dangerous levels last fall, to the point that patient triage might have been necessary, he accepted responsibility for not acting and then said he would have acted if the chief medical health officer had recommended it.
When he took over the health system, he blamed the former NDP government for problems he inherited. In recent weeks, as the system has continued to strain under COVID-19, he blamed Alberta Health Services, the front-line care provider.
The end came not from outside but from inside the caucus.
Backbenchers said Kenney had promised to bring them around the decision-making table but instead froze them out. Decisions, they said, were made by Kenney and a clutch of close advisers. Some dissenters found themselves kicked out of caucus.
With Kenney there was controversy. Always controversy.
He defeated Brian Jean in the inaugural 2017 party leadership race. It was later learned his team colluded with another candidate to try to scupper Jean’s chances. Kenney has said he didn’t know anything about it.
When the election commissioner investigated possible wrongdoing in that race, Kenney’s government, while he was away in Texas, introduced and passed a law to fire him. The RCMP continues to investigate allegations of voter identity fraud in that race.
This year, when Kenney’s justice minister, Kaycee Madu, was found to have tried to interfere in the administration of justice by calling Edmonton’s police chief to argue about a traffic ticket, Kenney simply moved him to another cabinet job.
Kenney, 53, has spent much of his adult life in the public eye, famous for saying he can’t help but march to the sound of rhetorical gunfire.
He has fought for conservative principles and the concept of ordered liberty, first as an anti-tax crusader and later as a key lieutenant in former prime minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet in portfolios that included immigration, employment and defence.
He is a Catholic and has spoken out against gay marriage and abortion in the past, but didn’t wade in on those issues as premier.
He is known for his drive, populist instincts and a nose for the political jugular.
To win the UCP leadership, he drove back and forth across Alberta in a blue pickup truck to meet and greet thousands of supporters and fence-sitters. In less than two years, he got 87 constituency associations and candidates running.
The blue pickup truck has become part of his persona.
Perhaps in a harbinger of what was to come, Kenney recently had that same truck at a news conference to announce a cut in gas taxes.
As the cameras rolled, Kenney filled up his tank, then pulled, yanked, yanked and yanked — at one point using two hands — in a failed attempt to pull out the hose.
Finally, he gave up, turned and looked sheepishly at the crowd.
The pickup was stuck.
And this time, there was no one to blame.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2022.
Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
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