Canada will petition the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday to probe alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity by Russian forces in Ukraine, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said.
The office of the ICC prosecutor on Monday said it will seek court approval to open an investigation into alleged war crimes in Ukraine, just days after Russia invaded its neighbour.
“Today also, Canada will petition the International Criminal Court … against Russia for crimes against humanity and war crimes,” said Joly, speaking to reporters in Geneva after taking part in a walkout staged to protest a virtual speech by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the UN Human Rights Council.
“And it was also important for us to show that we are steadfast in terms of our support to Ukraine.”
Russian shelling hit civilian targets in Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, again Tuesday as a convoy of tanks and other vehicles threatened the capital Kyiv.
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Videos posted online showed explosions hitting the Kharkiv region’s Soviet-era administrative building and residential areas, while a maternity ward was relocated to a shelter due to shelling.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the attack on the strategic eastern city’s main square — which he described as “frank, undisguised terror” — was a Russian missile strike. He called the attack a war crime.
“Nobody will forgive. Nobody will forget … This is state terrorism of the Russian Federation,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Canadian government made more announcements in response to Russia’s aggression.
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced the government intends to close Canadian waters and ports to Russian-owned or registered ships. His office said the order will come into effect later this week.
“We don’t have a lot that come from Russia, but sometimes they come from somewhere else,” said Alghabra to reporters after a cabinet meeting.
“So this will have an impact.”
Over the weekend, Canada closed its airspace to all Russian aircraft operators.
Canada also announced Tuesday that it will provide an additional $100 million to the UN to deliver humanitarian assistance to Ukrainian refugees inside and outside Ukraine.
Some 677,000 refugees from Ukraine have flooded over that country’s borders into neighbouring states in the past five days.
On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the government is banning Russian oil imports and will send a third shipment of lethal weapons to Ukraine as its military continues to fight off better-armed Russian forces.
Trudeau said the Canadian Armed Forces will provide airlift support to transport supplies and aid, and to participate in other NATO efforts in support of Ukraine.
WATCH | Canada sending more anti-tank weapons and upgraded ammunition to Ukraine: