Speaking in London, England on Sunday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for a "full investigation" and "transparency" into the findings of mass graves in Ukraine amid the war with Russia.
“The Prime Ministers discussed Canada’s assistance to Ukraine and work with like-minded partners to address the impacts of Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable aggression of the country,” the statement said.
“They also discussed the importance of maintaining strong unity amongst allies and continuing to impose severe sanctions on Russia in the face of its invasion of Ukraine.”
The two prime ministers are in London for the funeral of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away at the age of 96 on Sept. 8 at Balmoral Castle.
Trudeau also expressed his condolences to Shmyhal on behalf of Canada to Ukraine regarding a discovered mass burial site that appears to show evidence that some of the dead were tortured.
During a press conference in England on Sunday, Trudeau said Russia’s actions “clearly include war crimes.”
The mass graves site near the northeastern city of Izium, recently recaptured from Russian forces, appears to be one of the largest discovered in Ukraine. Some bodies were found to have broken limbs and ropes around their neck.
Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy spoke in a video on Sept. 16 to underscore the gravity of the discovery. He said more than 440 graves have been found at the site but that the number of victims is not yet known.
Aside from the “horrifying and heartbreaking atrocities,” Trudeau also congratulated Ukraine on recent military gains while meeting with the country’s prime minister.
“Prime Minister Trudeau commended the courage and heroism of the Ukrainian people in coming together to defend their country and freedoms against Russia’s ongoing attacks,” the statement read.
Ukraine’s financial situation was also discussed as Trudeau reiterated Canada’s financial support and leading role with the International Monetary Fund.
Shmyhal thanked Trudeau for Canada’s ongoing “military, financial, and humanitarian aid” to Ukraine.
Both condemned Russia’s “increasingly persistent, indiscriminate, and horrific attacks” while also agreeing to keep in close contact.
Meanwhile, in his first public comments on Ukraine’s recent battlefield gains, Putin vowed to press on with the war and warned that Moscow could ramp up its strikes on the country’s vital infrastructure if Ukrainian forces target facilities in Russia.
“If the situation develops this way, our response will be more serious,” Putin told reporters Friday after attending a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Uzbekistan.
— With files from Global News’ Aya Al-Hakim
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