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Green Party co-leader walks back comments suggesting Ukraine would push war into Russia

The Green Party’s new co-leader is apologizing for suggesting that Ukrainian forces could potentially bring the war with Russia beyond Ukraine’s borders.

Jonathan Pedneault released a statement on Twitter Tuesday walking back his previous comments.

“I wish to apologize and retract any suggestion that Ukraine might act, now or in the future, in ways that go beyond its stated, legitimate objective of reclaiming its territory and ending the Russian aggression,” he said.

In an interview last month on CBC Radio’s The House discussing the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Pedneault questioned whether Canada should continue to supply the country with offensive weapons.

“I am questioning the whole question of supplying weapons in active conflict areas such as this one, weapons that can be used for offensive purposes,” he told host Catherine Cullen.

Pedneault described being in Ukraine during the first 10 days of the conflict as part of his previous job documenting human rights violations for Human Rights Watch.

“One thing that I know, having spent 14 years working in conflict areas, is that an aggrieved party — for all the good reasons and human reasons — will most likely and often try and seek revenge,” he said.

“Do we have any assurances that war will stop at the border of Russia once territory is reclaimed?”

But Pedneault said Tuesday that after speaking to Ukrainian-Canadians — including members of his own party — he wanted to clarify the Green Party’s position.

“We recognize that Ukraine is rightly aiming at recovering the totality of its national territory,” he said. “We do not see the Ukrainian response pushing back beyond its borders. This is about reinstating Ukrainian sovereignty over the whole of its territory.”

During his interview last month, Pedneault said the Green Party believes Canada should be doing more to encourage peace talks.

On Tuesday, he reiterated his support of peace talks, but emphasized that they shouldn’t be used to give Russia a propaganda boon.

“Peace negotiations should always be considered positively — when the circumstances are ripe. Talks are better than guns,” he said.

Pedneault’s statement drew criticism from Quebec Green Party Leader Alex Tyrell.

“Jonathan Pedneault gives in to pressure — is no longer calling for peace talks,” Tyrell tweeted on Wednesday. 

Tyrell had previously been expelled from the federal party in July, in part for making a series of inflammatory claims about the war in Ukraine, including that the country should give in to Russian demands.

An internal party report obtained by CBC News said Tyrell should not have been removed.

Pedneault became co-leader of the party after he and Elizabeth May won the party’s leadership election as co-candidates in November.

Source : CBC

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