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(March 8, 2022) – Indigenous leaders across Canada have expressed support for the people of Ukraine, as they faced invasion from Russian forces.

Dene National Chief Gerald Antoine said “We stand with the Ukrainian government and the Indigenous Peoples in Ukraine in their heroic efforts to resist this assault on their fundamental rights and freedoms.” He added, “We encourage Dene, First Nations, Indigenous peoples and all Canadians to keep the people of Ukraine in their hearts and minds during the difficult days ahead.”

Antoine was not alone in his support.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald expressed support for the people of Ukraine.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted by the invasion by Russia, especially the little ones. We lift up the courageous resistance led by Ukrainians in their efforts to protect their sovereignty. We encourage First Nations, Indigenous peoples and all Canadians to keep Ukraine in their hearts and minds, now and in the difficult days ahead.”

On February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine, as its leaders demanded the neighbouring country’s army lay down its weapons.

In an address broadcast on state television,

“We urge you to lay down arms immediately and go home. I will explain: all servicemen of the Ukrainian army who comply with this requirement, can freely leave the area of military actions and return to their families,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin in an address broadcast on state television, also urging other nations not to intervene.

“Whoever would try to stop us and further create threats to our country, to our people, should know that Russia’s response will be immediate and lead you to such consequences that you have never faced in your history. We are ready for any outcome.” said Putin.

Since the invasion began, it’s estimated over 1.5-million Ukrainians have fled the country, with countless more attempting to leave the country. It’s not clear how many have already died, either as refugees or as combatants.

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