‘Very terrifying’: Freeland promises justice for victims of sexual violence in Ukraine

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Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland He says Canada is committed to seeking justice for Ukrainian women and children as allegations of sexual violence by Russian soldiers are increasing.

Freeland was asked Thursday about the war crimes Russia has accused of committing against Ukrainian citizens and the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.

“War crimes have been committed in UkraineIt is committed in Ukraine. After touring a carbon capture facility in Calgary, Freeland said the evidence we saw in Bucha and other parts of Ukraine that was under Russian occupation was absolutely horrifying.

“I want to take a moment to stress that one of the things that is happening is the systematic rape of Ukrainian women and children.”

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Freeland said Canada would work with its Democratic allies to prosecute those responsible.

“Rape is being used as a weapon in this war and I want the women of Ukraine to know that we see them, we will not forget, and we will work with Ukraine and with our democratic allies around the world to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Freeland, who is also finance minister, said she spoke with her Ukrainian counterpart on Thursday to express Canada’s support.

She also said it was appropriate to declare Russia’s occupation a genocide – as US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have said – since thousands of Ukrainians were killed and brutalized.

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Freeland referred to a “chilling document” on a Russian website posted 10 days ago that “effectively laid out a plan for the genocide in Ukraine, which called for the suffering and punishment of people who, in the opinion of this document, chose wrongly and mistakenly described themselves as Ukrainians.”

“This called for the word Ukraine to be erased.”

Freeland said the Russian occupation signaled a struggle between democracy and dictatorship, and it was in Canada’s interest to support Ukraine.

“Honestly, we are really fortunate that the Ukrainians are so bravely prepared to fight for us, that they are willing to stand there and die in this fight.”

Up to 150 Canadian Armed Forces personnel are deployed to Poland to assist in the care, coordination and resettlement of Ukrainian refugees.

© 2022 Canadian Press

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