OTTAWA (Reuters) -Canada will offer Ukraine a loan of up to C$120 million ($95.6 million) and is looking at other ways to support Kyiv as a crisis with Russia deepens, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday.
“Russia is aiming to destabilize Ukraine, including economically. This loan will help support Ukraine’s economic resilience,” Trudeau told a news conference.
“(It) is one of the top things that the Ukrainian government has been asking for from Canada.”
Trudeau reiterated his condemnation of Russia’s moves to build up troops near the Ukrainian border, saying “any movement of Russian troops into Ukraine will be absolutely unacceptable and met with a clear response from the international community”.
Ottawa is “also exploring other options to provide financial and other supports,” Trudeau said. He sidestepped questions about whether Canada would send weapons to Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomed the news, tweeting that “Canada demonstrates once again the real devotion to the spirit of special partnership between our two countries”.
Canada, with a sizeable and politically influential population of Ukrainian descent, has taken a hard line with Russia since its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
($1 = 1.2548 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Jonathan Oatis)