Vladimir Putin’s claim to parts of Ukraine is little more than ‘political theatre’ without ‘any legitimacy’, Canada and the United States said on Friday, and should have no impact on the best how to deploy military aid from the West.
Foreign Minister Melanie Joly joined US Secretary of State Antony Blinken for meetings in Washington, DC, the same day the Russian president claimed he was legally authorized to annex four of the occupied regions of the ‘Ukraine.
Not only are these claims illegitimate, Joly and Blinken said, they will have no bearing on how Ukraine chooses to use weapons, ammunition and other military support provided by the West.
“It has no validity, no legitimacy, no legal status – that territory remains Ukraine,” Blinken said at a press conference in the State Department’s lavish Benjamin Franklin Dining Room, a portrait of its namesake looming above.
“Our support for Ukraine will continue, and that support can be used as it sees fit by Ukraine across the country to defend its territory and, if necessary, retake it.”
Some observers have warned that the annexation strategy, which includes Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south, is a ploy to allow Putin to pretend he is defending Russian soil .
Neither Blinken nor Joly seemed overly concerned about this Friday.
“We don’t recognize Putin’s words. He’s spreading lies — again,” Joly said.
“It is part of the political theater. Nobody buys it. And that’s why we won’t change our stock price.
While in Washington, Joly announced new sanctions against Russia that target 43 Russian oligarchs, financial elites and their families and 35 senior Russian-backed officials in the four occupied regions.
These sanctions came as the US and UK also announced new rounds of sanctions: the UK measures included freezing the assets of the Russian central bank governor, while the US added 900 people and 57 companies to their various blacklists.
On Friday, Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy also confirmed that Ukraine was submitting an “fast track” application to join NATO, a move Joly said Canada fully endorses.
“We believe that Ukraine should be part of NATO,” she said. “This has been our position for over a decade now, and we believe in the open door policy.”
Blinken and Joly acknowledged that Europe, long dependent on Russia for its energy, faces a tough winter without access to its usual supplier. But work to help ease that pressure — in part by reducing demand and finding renewable alternatives — has been underway for months, he said.
This week’s apparent bombings in the Baltic Sea that severed the twin Nord Stream gas pipelines between Russia and Germany will have little immediate impact, he added: one has been idle for weeks because of the war, while the other hasn’t even arrived yet. on line.
Since the invasion began in February, the United States has become Europe’s main supplier of liquefied natural gas and also released historic releases of oil from its strategic reserves earlier this year, Blinken noted. – a move that was intended to ease the upward pressure on energy prices that has caused economic and political problems both globally and at home.
“My own feeling…is, listen, there’s a lot of hard work to be done to make sure countries and partners get through the winter,” he said. But Europe has already taken “very significant” steps towards the transition to renewable energy.
“Ultimately, this is also a tremendous opportunity to remove dependence on Russian energy once and for all, and thereby take Vladimir Putin away from the weaponization of energy as a means of advancing his imperial purposes.”
Joly said Canada has also increased its energy production in response to the crisis, and she also discussed longer-term solutions, including a new $18 billion LNG export terminal being built near the coast of British Columbia, which should be operational in 2025. , as well as a new hydrogen installation in Newfoundland.
“We want to be there in the short term, with the existing context that we know,” Joly said.
“We (also) want to be there in the medium term, and we want to be there in the long term. We are obviously very aware of the energy security situation in Europe, and that is why we are in solution mode.
On Thursday, Swedish authorities discovered a fourth leak along the Nord Stream gas pipelines, vital energy links for Europe that have been pouring methane into the Baltic Sea since Monday following two underwater explosions.
NATO says all evidence suggests pipelines between Russia and Germany were likely damaged by “deliberate, reckless and irresponsible” acts of sabotage.
The leaks are “very concerning” and also endanger shipping lanes, not to mention what is expected to be “substantial environmental damage”, the alliance said in a statement.
“As allies, we are committed to preparing for, deterring and defending against the coercive use of energy and other hybrid tactics by state and non-state actors.”
Russia tried to deflect blame by suggesting the United States was the only country that stands to gain from shutting down the pipelines, a claim Blinken declined to uphold with a response on Friday.
But he also stopped short of pointing.
“We support the investigation into these pipeline attacks and are working to be able to determine who is responsible, but I don’t want to preempt these investigations,” Blinken said.
“I really have nothing to say about President Putin’s absurd allegation that we or other partners or allies are somehow responsible for this.”
—James McCarten, The Canadian Press