As Russian troops continue to invade Ukraine, the Northwest Territories government says it will match donations from residents to the Red Cross to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine up to $50,000.
NWT Premier Caroline Cochrane made the pledge in the Legislative Assembly on Friday morning. The Canadian Red Cross launched its Ukrainian Humanitarian Crisis Appeal on Thursday, with funds going toward immediate relief efforts and supporting those who have been displaced.
“Yesterday, the world was thrust into uncertainty and turmoil as Russia launched an attack and subsequent invasion on Ukraine. The Northwest Territories stands with Ukraine,” Cochrane said.
“The images coming out of the Eastern European nation are horrifying. My heart goes out to those who are forced to flee their homes to find safety and to those who have lost their lives in a senseless act of aggression by Russia.”
According to Statistics Canada, there were more than 1.3 million people of Ukrainian descent living in Canada in 2019. Cochrane said that includes more than 1,000 people in the NWT.
Northwestel, in a post on social media on Friday, said it would waive long distance charges for phone calls to Ukraine until March 31, to support northerners with loved ones in the country.
The NWT premier went on to say that she supports Canada’s “immediate application of severe sanctions” against Russia, and she plans to discuss the needs of Canada’s Arctic in response to Russia’s actions with the federal government.
“History clearly shows we can not turn a blind eye to international aggression. Although our voice may be small, we stand in support of the people of Ukraine,” Cochrane said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced earlier this week Canada would be imposing new sanctions against Russia, calling its attack against Ukraine “an attack on democracy.” The federal government also pledged to take immediate measures to support Ukrainians and make it easier for Canadian citizens and permanent residents currently in Ukraine to return to Canada.
“Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s egregious attack on Ukraine. Canada is taking strong action to stand up for what is right and protect the rights and freedoms of the Ukrainian people,” Trudeau said in a statement.
“Let me be clear: there will be serious consequences for Russia’s actions. Together with our allies and partners, we will continue to take decisive action to support the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence of Ukraine and by extension, democratic principles, freedom, and human rights around the world.”