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Blair says Canada will continue to support Ukraine


Ukrainian Canadians gathered in downtown Halifax on Sunday as world leaders and defence officials came together for the final day of the Halifax International Security Forum.

Bohdan Luhovyy, president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Nova Scotia branch, and about 50 people rallied at Peace and Friendship Park to show their solidarity with Ukraine as the country continues to defend itself against Russia.

“Today is the 634th day of (the) full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation,” Luhovyy said.

Since then, the United Nations estimates nearly 10,000 civilians have died and tens of thousands have been injured.

In June, the UN reported nearly 1.5 million homes had been destroyed in Ukraine, with direct damage to buildings and other infrastructure estimated to have reached $135 billion.

“You can imagine this number has significantly increased since then, as Russia attacks civil infrastructure every day single day,” Luhovyy said.

Luhovyy noted not only have the lives of those who

remain in Ukraine changed for the worse, but that it will need an abundance of financial help from other countries to recover when the war ends.

Federal Defence Minister Bill Blair, with former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko at his side, said Canada will continue to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes.”

“And we will continue to commit to work with Ukrainian people to ensure that they have the resources to not only win this war, and winning this war means a return to their sovereign borders, but also security for the future,” Blair told the rally.

Blair said Canada and other countries will ensure that Ukraine is “once again a strong and reconstituted country,” adding that there are efforts being made to ensure Russia pays for its actions.

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage also attended the rally to show his support for Ukraine.

“We have had too many demonstrations of support,” Savage said. “Too many in the sense that the fight goes on and we cannot get tired of that fight.

“The world can’t get tired.

The world can’t be diverted. The world can’t turn away. The world can’t say, ‘we’ve done that.’ It is imperative for Ukraine to win this war.”

And while Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, was the main focus at the Halifax International Security Forum, Luhovyy reminded the crowd of the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor, also known as the Great Ukrainian Famine, which resulted in the death of millions of Ukrainians.

“Both these tragic events in Ukraine have the same roots, mainly Russian genocide against the people of Ukraine, Ukrainian culture, identity, language, history and future,” Luhovyy said.

But Ukrainian politician Maria Mezentseva reminded people at the rally that their loved ones back home are resilient.

“Our communities are struggling but still surviving,” she said.

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