The Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau on Thursday urged Russia to “to immediately end all military activities” around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, after a fire at Europe’s biggest nuclear plant was ignited by Russian shelling.
Trudeau, in a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday, discussed “the fire and damages at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine caused by Russian attacks”, according to statement from the prime minister’s office.
Zelensky “expressed deep concern with the potential for devastating consequences for the health and safety of Ukrainians and all Europeans without an immediate cease-fire at and around the nuclear plant,” according to the readout of the call.
Meanwhile, Canada is prepared to admit an unlimited number of refugees from Ukraine fleeing the Russian attack, officials said on Thursday.
The government introduced a new immigration stream on Thursday which will allow Ukrainians to come to Canada quickly. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is creating a Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel, which will be available for individuals fleeing Ukraine and their stay can be extended for up to two years.
There will be no limit to the number of Ukrainians who can apply. This is the fastest, safest, and most efficient way for Ukrainians to come to Canada and eliminates many of the normal visa requirements,” IRCC said in a statement.
The Canadian government expects to open the stream for applications in two weeks and said, in the meantime, Ukrainians who applied through other programmes will be prioritised for processing.
The IRCC also plans to “quickly implement” a special family reunification sponsorship pathway for permanent residence for the immediate kin of Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Ukrainian origin.
Ukrainians arriving in Canada as part of these measures will also be eligible for open work permits. Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said Canada “will provide safe haven to those who fled to protect themselves and their families. Canadians stand with Ukrainians in their time of need and we will welcome them with open arms”.
Meanwhile, several measures were announced by the government and other civil organisations in Canada on Thursday in response to growing outrage against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The government said that it is imposing a 35% tariff on goods imported from Russia and Belarus.
Canada today revoked Russia’s & Belarus’ Most Favoured Nation status as trading partners under Canadian law. Russia & Belarus will be subject to a tariff of 35% on their exports to Canada. The only other country in this category is North Korea,” Canada’s deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland, who is of Ukrainian heritage, said in a post on Twitter.
Canada’s former governor-general Adrienne Clarkson returned the Russian Order of Friendship she received in 2006 to protest Moscow’s operations in Ukraine.
And, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), one of the largest film festivals in the world, announced it will “suspend participation by film organizations and media outlets supported by the Russian state, as well as Russian cultural ambassadors and delegations related to our Festival”.
TIFF said on Twitter that it will also “seek to amplify the voices of Ukrainian and independent Russian filmmakers who continue to illuminate our understanding of conflict in the region”.
“TIFF stands against the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the declaration of war this signifies. We hope for a swift return to peace and stability in the region and we extend our support to the people of Ukraine and those within Russia who stand against these attacks,” it said.