Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question during a news conference, Feb. 24, 2022 in Ottawa. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)
Canada’s foreign affairs minister met counterparts at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Friday to co-ordinate continuing efforts to sanction Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Before the meeting, Mélanie Joly said ministers planned to discuss a Russian attack on a major nuclear power plant in the eastern Ukraine city of Enerhodar.
Russian troops seized the plant, the largest in Europe, after a middle-of-the-night attack that set it on fire and briefly raised worldwide fears of a catastrophe.
Firefighters put out the blaze, and no radiation was released, United Nations and Ukrainian officials said, as Russian forces pressed on with their week-old offensive on multiple fronts and the number of refugees fleeing the country topped 1.2 million.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said late Thursday he had spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about the assault on the power plant.
Following the attack, Zelensky appealed again to the West to enforce a no-fly zone over his country. But NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg ruled out that possibility, citing the risk of a much wider war in Europe.
He said the only way to implement a no-fly zone would be to send NATO planes to enforce it by shooting down Russian planes.
“We understand the desperation, but we also believe that if we did that, we would end up with something that could end in a full-fledged war in Europe,” Stoltenberg said.