Ottawa to send four additional Leopard tanks to Ukraine

Ottawa will send four additional Leopard tanks to Ukraine

Michal Dyjuk Associated Press The first of the promised Leopard tanks have already been delivered to Poland.

The Government of Canada will send four additional Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine, doubling its contribution, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday on the first anniversary of the Russian invasion.

“There is a year now, the Kremlin began launching brutal attacks that killed civilians and targeted homes, hospitals. Bullies, like President Putin, will never understand that fear is an impotent weapon against those who fight for their freedom,” Trudeau said at a press conference in Toronto.

Ottawa also indicated that new sanctions will be imposed against 122 individuals and 13 entities, including members of the lower house of the Russian Parliament who voted in favor of legislative measures related to the invasion and the attempted annexation of four regions of Ukraine.

Deputy prime ministers, ministers and other members of the cabinet of the President of Russia and the Russian military, as well as family members of people with already subject to sanctions are also sanctioned, it was clarified.

“Canada has led the charge globally to institute the toughest sanctions regime ever imposed on a major economy and to curb President Putin's ability to fund this illegal war,” said the Prime Minister.

Trudeau said G7 leaders reaffirmed to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a discussion earlier in the day that “our support for Ukraine will remain unwavering for as long as it takes.” p>

As 365 days have passed since the Russian invasion, Ukraine is preparing for a counter-offensive with weapons from the West. The first of the dozen Leopard tanks promised have also been delivered, Poland announced on Friday.

Last week, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly stressed that Canada was putting pressure on other allies to provide more heavy weapons to Ukraine, as promises of massive tank shipments have yet to materialize.

While several European countries, as well as the United States and Britain, have made similar commitments, the numbers so far are below Kiev's expectations.

The Canadian Armed Forces have 112 Leopard 2 tanks, but analysts believe that Ottawa could provide only a small number to Ukraine, if Canada is to maintain its own training and operational needs.