Russia's invasion of Ukraine earlier today is very big news in Canada.
The 2016 census showed 1,359,655 people (3.8%) out of Canada's then population of 35,151,728 claimed Ukrainian ethnic/cultural origin. (The 2021 census tables for ethnography and immigration will be released later this year.)
622,445 (1.7%) claimed Russian ethnic origin.
Here in Newmarket 2,950 people (3.5%) claimed Ukrainian ethnic origin and 2,840 (3.3%) Russian out of the then population of 84,224.
Almost 7% of the Town's population say their origins are in either Ukraine or Russia so what is happening over there is of huge significance.
Ukraine is a big country with 44 million people.
The invasion is, of course, complete madness and is totally unjustified. President Putin's assertion that Russia is acting in self-defense is risible. For over three months Russia has been deploying the military along its borders with Ukraine, waiting for the order to strike.
And then, a few days ago, Putin recognised the “independence” of two republics in eastern Ukraine and sent in “peacekeeping” forces.
The former U.S. President, the ludicrous Donald Trump, says this was an act of genius.
Now, unbelievably, we are witnessing a full-scale land war in Europe.
There is, of course, no question of a military response by the West. But sanctions that really bite will make a huge difference; damaging the Russian economy, separating Putin’s inner circle from their foreign bank accounts and giving encouragement to Putin's domestic opposition.
Canada has condemned the Russian invasion. I am pretty sure the sanctions that follow will be the toughest on record.
They must be.
Update at 1.25pm: Canada expands sanctions
Update on 25 February 2022: From the Guardian: How we defeat Putin and the Petrostate autocrats