By MONIKA SCISLOWSKA
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday during a visit to Poland that his country will take as many refugees fleeing war in Ukraine “as we can.”
Trudeau said “our hearts break” to see millions of Ukrainians fleeing for their lives and leaving all they have behind.
“Canada will help, Canada is there to help,” Trudeau said in Poland, a fellow NATO member which neighbors Ukraine and has opened its border to the refugees. Almost 1.5 million people have fled to Poland since Feb. 24, when Russia’s army invaded Ukraine.
In talks with Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Trudeau expressed support for Poland’s openness to the refugees and discussed ways of supporting Ukraine and continuing tough sanctions on Russia.
In Warsaw, Trudeau also held talks with visiting U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris.
Trudeau said his government is speeding up immigration procedures to allow the refugees to come very quickly to Canada, where many people of Ukrainian ancestry live.
“We will allow them to study, work, when they come here,” Trudeau said at a joint news conference with Duda.
“Many of them will hope to be able to return to Ukraine after this conflict, many will also chose to continue their lives in Canada and we look forward to welcoming as many as we can,” Trudeau said.
Duda thanked him for having been the first world leader to call and offer help to Poland, in the days of building tension before Russia’s invasion.
Trudeau said Canada will actively help to bring Russian leaders responsible for the human tragedy, especially President Vladimir Putin, before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
“Putin’s callous disregard for human life is absolutely unacceptable. It is very clear he has made the choice to specifically target civilians now,” he said, stressing that Canada has “joined the largest referral to the largest criminal court in history and offered assistance to expedite this work.”
“The world will continue to make Putin accountable for his war crimes,” he said.
Trudeau pointed to the inspiring “ferocity and strength and resolve” of the Ukrainians defending their territory and said Putin has “made a terrible mistake and he’s gonna lose this war.”
That’s because “our resolve as friends and allies — friends to Ukraine, allies to each other — and countries committed to democracy, to the rule of law, to the United Nations Charter cannot allow Vladimir Putin to be successful,” Trudeau said.