Canada to increase defense spending, impose new sanctions on Russia

·2 min read
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

(Reuters) -Canada will continue to increase its defense spending, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday, as he announced new sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

"Canada will be increasing pressure by sanctioning 160 members of the Russian Federation Council who facilitated and enabled this unjustified invasion," Trudeau told reporters after a NATO summit in Brussels.

In coming days, Canada will also impose new prohibitions on the export of certain goods and technologies to Russia, "with the aim of undermining and eroding the capabilities of the Russian military," according to a statement.

The Russian embassy in Canada tweeted that targeting members of the Federation Council was "a ridiculous gesture and a demonstration of impotence of Western sanctions policy".

NATO, G7 and EU leaders were meeting in Brussels for a summit focused on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the United States also announced fresh sanctions on Moscow in a show of Western unity.

Asked about defense spending, Trudeau said "our investments in our Canadian Armed Forces will continue to increase and we will have more to say about this at the appropriate time."

Several European countries, including Germany, Poland and Denmark, have increased military spending in response to the Ukraine crisis.

Trudeau said a deal he reached with the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) earlier this week, in which he agreed to back more social spending in exchange for NDP support in parliament until 2025, will not affect defense spending plans.

In 2021, Canada's defense spending was an estimated 1.4% of its gross domestic product, short of a 2% NATO target. Defense Minister Anita Anand said last week she would lay out "aggressive options" for defense spending amid the Ukraine crisis.

(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru and Steve Scherer in Ottawa; editing by Chris Reese, Jonathan Oatis and Bernard Orr)