Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is standing behind Canada’s decision to send repaired Russian turbines back to Germany — despite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s assertion that the move violated sanctions.
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Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Trudeau said the decision to return the turbine was “difficult” but “right.”
“Russia will not succeed in either weaponizing its energy or dividing our allies amongst ourselves. We are focused on being there to support Ukraine,” he said.
“This decision was a difficult one but it was the right one to ensure that we continue to all stand together against Putin’s illegal war in support of Ukraine.”
Earlier this month, Canada granted an exemption to the economic sanctions issued against Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
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The two-year waiver would allow six Siemens Energy turbines, which were in Montreal for repairs, to be returned to Germany for use in the Russian state-owned Nord Stream 1 pipeline.
Canada sent a turbine for the Nord Stream gas pipeline to Germany by plane on July 17, according to Reuters.
Europe, which is heavily reliant on Russian gas supplies, has been experiencing a reduction in the power source as the Russia-Ukraine war drags on.
The Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom reduced gas deliveries from its Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which runs to northeastern Germany, by 60 per cent last month, citing turbine-related technical problems.
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But Russian gas flows from the pipeline are on track to restart on time, two sources familiar with the export plans told Reuters.
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Officials in the German energy sector told Reuters that the country’s household energy costs could triple as Russian gas supplies dwindle — something they warned could cause social unrest.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Trudeau expressed concern about losing the support of the people when it comes to the West’s stance on the Russia-Ukraine war.
“Russia is choosing to weaponize energy policy as a way of continuing with its assault on Ukraine, but also as a way of dividing Western allies amongst ourselves, as well as undermine public support for our strong stance in favour of Ukraine and against Russia,” he said.
Still, Zelenskyy was incensed by Canada’s decision, calling it “absolutely unacceptable” last week.
“The decision on the exception to sanctions will be perceived in Moscow exclusively as a manifestation of weakness. This is their logic,” he said.
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Ukrainian-Canadians have also expressed their shock and disappointment at the decision.
At a rally in Ottawa on Sunday, Canadian-Ukrainian Yuri Kolomiyets told the crowd of about 150 supporters assembled on the lawn of Parliament Hill that the decision will mean more oil and gas money for Russia to fund its attack on Ukraine.
“I guess it’s OK to supply genocidal maniacs with the technology and the money, as long as it keeps German voters happy,” Kolomiyets told the crowd, eliciting cries of “shame” in response.
“It’s not their children who are dying in the missile strikes.”
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Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, who once served the Canadian chief of defence staff, spoke out against the decision earlier Tuesday. He cautioned that this could be the start of Western economic pressure easing on Moscow.
“This decision to send the turbines back … may be seen as the straw that broke the camel’s back, and we may start to see a relenting of pressure from NATO, from the West in general,” he said, speaking to reporters during a virtual news conference.
“Instead of going upwards and onwards with more and more sanctions, this might be the straw that causes it to turn downwards.”
— with files from The Canadian Press, Reuters, and Global News’ Aaron D’Andrea
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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