OTTAWA — Canada is sending additional RCMP officers to assist the International Criminal Court investigation into possible war crimes by Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.
Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says the "war machine" of President Vladimir Putin is destroying houses, hospitals and schools.
"In the face of Putin and the Russian military's flagrant violation of international law, Canada will continue to work to ensure that they are held accountable for their illegal actions," the minister said in a statement on Tuesday.
Canada was one of several dozen countries to refer the Ukraine situation to prosecutor's office of the court.
Mendicino says Canada is sending the additional police resources at the request of the prosecutor's office as part of its participation in investigations into alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The move comes as negotiators from Russia and Ukraine met Tuesday in Turkey in an attempt to end the invasion that began on Feb. 24, forcing 10 million Ukrainians from their homes, including 3.8 million that have fled the country.
Ukraine has proposed that it would remain a neutral country, but its security would be guaranteed by a group of countries in a fashion similar to NATO's Article 5, which specifies that an attack on one is an attack on all.
Russia, meanwhile, has announced it will significantly scale back its military operations near Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv to build trust during the talks after several unsuccessful rounds. The United States and other allies greeted that news with skepticism.
The apparent show of good faith by Russia comes after its advance on the Ukrainian capital has effectively stalled in the face of a military resistance that has exceed the expectations of both the country's invaders and its Western allies.
In a prepared text for a speech in Vancouver, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said nothing short of a full withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine is required to bring the fighting to an end.
Trudeau said Canada and its allies would remain steadfast in their support of Ukraine by continuing to provide military, economic and humanitarian aid as well as safe haven for civilians fleeing the country.
"The people of Ukraine, and their President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, are showing incredible resolve," he said in prepared remarks.
"They are fighting not just for their country, but for all of us, as they defend democracy against dictatorship."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2022.
Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press