Canada to seek justice for sexual violence victims in Ukraine: Freeland

By The Canadian Press

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

Speaking in Calgary, Freeland says rape is being used as a weapon of war and that Canada will work with its democratic allies to prosecute the perpetrators.

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

Freeland, who also serves as finance minister, says she spoke with her Ukrainian counterpart to voice Canada’s support. She says the Russian occupation signals a fight between democracy and dictatorship and it’s in Canada’s interest to back Ukraine.

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Up to 150 members of the Canadian Armed Forces are deploying from Ontario to help with the care, co-ordination and resettlement of Ukrainian refugees in Poland.

“I do want to take a moment to underscore that one of the things that is happening is the systematic rape of Ukrainian women and children,” Freeland said Thursday.

“Rape is being used as a weapon in this war and I want the women of Ukraine to know that we see them. We are not going to forget.”

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