Eugene Czolij, President of the

Eugene Czolij, President of the "Ukraine-2050" NGO

Canada can and should do more now — not only for Ukraine’s sake but also for its own — to avoid paying later the ultimate price to protect the fundamental principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter

According to the Ukraine Support Tracker of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, an independent, non-profit economic research institute and think tank based in Kiel, Germany,  Canada's defense and security aid to Ukraine amounted to EUR 1.93 billion (approximately CAD 2.86 billion) between January 24, 2022 and February 29, 2024.

This puts Canada in the 9th place among the countries that had provided military aid to Ukraine over the given period, following the USA (EUR 43.08 billion), Germany (EUR 10.04 billion), United Kingdom (EUR 5.27 billion), Denmark (EUR 4.78 billion), the Netherlands (EUR 3.85 billion), Poland (EUR 3.00 billion), Sweden (EUR 2.74 billion), and France (EUR 2.69 billion).

Among those countries, half (the USA, Germany, United Kingdom, and France) rank ahead of Canada and the other half are trailing behind Canada in GDP terms.

In return, Ukraine has become a human shield protecting the West, including Canada, from Russia's insatiable expansionism, which would otherwise lead to World War III.

Indeed, on March 7, 2024, US President Joe Biden acknowledged this stark reality in his State of the Union address: “Overseas, Putin of Russia is on the march, invading Ukraine and sowing chaos throughout Europe and beyond. If anybody in this room thinks Putin will stop at Ukraine, I assure you: He will not. But Ukraine — Ukraine can stop Putin. Ukraine can stop Putin if we stand with Ukraine and provide the weapons that it needs to defend itself. That is all — that is all Ukraine is asking”.

Photo via
Photo via

Thus, if not stopped by Ukraine, Russia will march into a NATO member country, forcing Canada into war, as Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty states that an attack on any NATO member country is to be treated as an attack on all NATO countries, including Canada.

In heroically defending its own and Europe’s territorial integrity, Ukraine has already paid the ultimate price with tens of thousands of military and civilian casualties, including children, immeasurable human suffering caused by Russian genocidal acts and massive destruction by Russia’s relentless missile and drone attacks. The total cost of reconstruction and recovery in Ukraine as assessed by the government of Ukraine, the World Bank Group, the European Commission and the United Nations at the end of 2023 will amount to USD 668 billion over the next decade.

On September 22, during Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said, “Canada will stand with Ukraine with whatever it takes, for as long as it takes.”

However, in Canada’s 2024 budget, an amount of USD 1.6 billion has been earmarked for the next five years, starting in 2024-25, for the provision of lethal and non-lethal military aid to Ukraine. This means around USD 320 million per year for the next five years, or only 22 per cent of the military aid provided by Canada to Ukraine during each of the first two years of Russia’s all-out war against Ukraine, that started on Feb. 24, 2022.

Even prior to this budget, several countries had budgeted substantially more funding in military assistance to Ukraine than Canada. Canada’s 2024 budget will create an even greater disparity in military aid provided to Ukraine between these countries and Canada.

Canada can and should do more now — not only for Ukraine’s sake but also for its own — to avoid paying later the ultimate price to protect the fundamental principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

Eugene Czolij, a lawyer, is President of the NGO “Ukraine-2050,” Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Montreal, and former Ukrainian World Congress President (2008-2018).

Ukraine-2050 is a non-profit organization founded with a mission to foster the implementation, within the life of one generation - until 2050, of a sustainable development strategy for Ukraine as a fully independent, territorially integrated, democratic, reformed and economically competitive European country.

Headline photo via Eugene Czolij’s Facebook

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