Published June 13, 2024

Canada announces $5B contribution toward Ukraine loan as G7 leaders meet in Italy

By Nojoud Al Mallees
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives in Grottaglie, Italy, on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, to attend the G7 Summit. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that Canada is prepared to contribute $5 billion toward a loan to Ukraine that will be based on future revenue from frozen Russian assets.

Leaders of the G7 countries have agreed to engineer a US$50-billion loan to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia that would use interest earned on profits from Russia’s frozen central bank assets as collateral.

The news comes on the first day of the G7 leaders' summit taking place in Apulia, Italy. 

The three-day summit is an opportunity for collaboration among the leaders of the wealthy democracies — France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Japan.

Canada has been heavily involved in the U.S.-led push to use the frozen assets to help Ukraine.

The G7 announced it was freezing Russian central bank assets in 2022, shortly after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In a bilateral meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday, Trudeau commended the G7 for the announcement.

"Canada's actually the first country to announce $5 billion of that will be a Canadian contribution," he said.

Zelenskyy thanked Trudeau "for your loud voice" in support of Ukraine.

A government source not authorized to discuss matters publicly said Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland was making calls last month to her G7 counterparts to drum up support for an agreement to use the assets to deliver more financial help to Ukraine.

As leaders announced the increased support on Thursday, Canada joined the U.S. and the U.K. in delivering a stark warning over Russian interference in Moldova, which neighbours Ukraine. 

The three countries said in a statement that Russian actors are "carrying out a plot to influence outcomes" of the country's upcoming presidential election this fall. 

"They intend to incite protests in Moldova should a pro-Russia candidate not win," the statement said.

"They seek to foment negative public perceptions of Western governments, Moldova's incumbent leadership and Moldova's potential for EU integration, while degrading public confidence in Moldova's ability to secure itself and maintain rule of law"

The statement said the three countries have full confidence in Moldova's ability to manage the threats, and they are taking measures to support the efforts.

"By revealing the Kremlin’s plot, we are making it clear to Moscow that we stand for free and fair elections and will not tolerate its attempts to meddle and undermine democratic processes," it said.

Canada has also announced sanctions against 11 people and 16 entities connected to Russia's "military-industrial complex," the Prime Minister's Office said in a news release. That includes entities involved in circumventing sanctions on Russian oil. 

Trudeau held meetings with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron on the first day of the summit.

He is also set to participate in working sessions with other leaders on collaboration with Africa, climate change, the Middle East and Ukraine. 

Trudeau is headed to Switzerland on Saturday to attend a summit on Ukraine, where a larger group of countries will meet to discuss a future path to peace.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 13, 2024.

— With files from The Associated Press.

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