June 21. 2024. 6:03

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From Canada, Von der Leyen urges ‘steadfast’ support for Ukraine

European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, addressing Canada’s parliament on Tuesday (7 March) during a visit to bolster support for Ukraine, said Europe would never accept Russian threats to its security.

“We will never accept that a military power with fantasies of empire rolls its tanks across an international border,” she said in a speech more than one year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The 27-nation bloc, she added, “will never accept this threat to European security and to the very foundation of our international community,” she added.

Von der Leyen urged “steadfast military and economic support” for Ukraine while also renewing calls for Russia to “pay for its crime of aggression” after proposing in November to set up a specialized court to prosecute such crimes.

Canada’s response to the war in Ukraine has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

They say hard times reveal true friends.

And this is what the European Union and Canada are.

True friends. https://t.co/Yy0FioIo0t

— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) March 7, 2023

On the eve of International Women’s Day, von der Leyen also praised Ukrainian women soldiers who had been barred from combat duties prior to the conflict, but “did not care and started joining the army anyways.”

“This is not only a war in Ukraine. It is also a war on human rights, and it is a war on women’s rights,” she said to applause, citing UN accusations that “Russia is using rape and sexual violence as part of its military strategy in Ukraine.”

Ukrainian women “are fighting back,” she said, noting that the number of them serving in the military had doubled since the start of the conflict. “These women also smashed the glass ceiling right over the head of the Russian invaders.”

Earlier, during a visit to a Canadian military base, von der Leyen and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged deliveries of generators to Ukraine, which has suffered repeated attacks on its power grid.

Trudeau also announced the extension of Canada’s mission to train Ukrainian combat engineers in Poland, due to end soon, to October and the deployment of medical trainers too.

Von der Leyen is, after her multi-day visit to Canada, to travel to the United States where she will be received on Friday by President Joe Biden.

Biden and von der Leyen to meet amid subsidies dispute

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will discuss clean energy and supply chains with President Joe Biden in Washington on 10 March, the White House said, as European nations worry that new US subsidies will hurt their economies.