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Editorial: Standing with Ukraine

Canada has long supported the rights of Ukrainian people to decide their own fate
Thousands of supporters rally outside of the Vancouver Art Gallery Feb. 26 to show solidarity with Ukraine.

Many greater political and military minds than ours have spent the past week analyzing the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But under any measurement, the war that Russia is now unleashing in that country is a massive failure in the way the global political system is supposed to work and of diplomatic and economic deterrents intended to stop the invasion from happening.

Now a humanitarian crisis is unfolding on a massive scale in that country, in a land steeped in many such crises over hundreds of years.

It’s true that European wars tend to get our attention in ways some others don’t. NATO, of which Canada is a member, was set up with goals of stopping Russian expansionism and fostering stability in Europe. An aggressor with nuclear capability has also significantly upped the ante.

Many Canadians have strong family roots in Ukraine and feel the conflict in a real and visceral way

With the rest of the world, we stand horrified by events currently unfolding in that sovereign nation and against a civilian population. The United Nations estimates more than 660,000 people have fled as refugees in the past six days – the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since the Second World War.

Canada has long supported Ukrainian people’s right to decide their own fate.

There are very dark days ahead with the strength of Russia’s military invasion force. But in the long run, solving the current crisis must be diplomatic.

Taking a country – or parts of it – by force is one thing. Holding it is another, especially a vast geography populated by millions of Ukrainians who emphatically do not want to be part of Russia.