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Canadian protesters call for withdrawal from NATO amid 'proxy war' in Ukraine

Canadian anti-war protesters. (File photo)

Anti-war protesters have taken to the streets in downtown Hamilton, Canada, to call on the government to withdraw from NATO and stop supplying weapons to Ukraine.

Protesters on Monday gathered at the Hamilton Convention Center, where Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet held meetings.

Some of them were holding banners that read, "No new fighter jets, new warships to NATO," and "Stop the NATO proxy war in Ukraine."

Protest organizer Ken Stone said, "We're here today as part of a week-long protest in North America against NATO wars abroad."

"Across Canada, the United States, and even some places in Europe, there have been demonstrations that are opposing US wars around the world, including the NATO proxy war in Ukraine," he added.

The Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War, which organized the protest, also on Monday called on Ottawa to repeal purchasing fighter jets and to withdraw from the US-led military alliance.

Trudeau's government announced earlier this month that the Canadian air force would purchase 88 US-manufactured F-35 fighter jets to replace its old military aircraft. The purchase will cost about 1.42 billion US dollars.

Since the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine last year, Canada, along with other NATO members, has been supporting the alliance and its partners in funding the war via weapons shipments.

Russia launched what it calls "a special military operation" against Ukraine in late February over the perceived threat of the country joining NATO.

Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand paid a visit to Ukraine on Wednesday to announce that Canada was sending another 200 armored vehicles to help with the country's war against Russia. The announcement came as NATO allies have been wrestling with whether to send German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine. Germany is facing pressure to not only send some of its own heavy tanks but to allow other countries that operate the same tanks to send their own.

That would include Canada, which has 112 Leopard 2 tanks in several configurations in use by its armed forces. The tanks were acquired from Germany in 2007 during the height of the war in Afghanistan. Trudeau has not ruled out the possibility of sending some of the tanks to Ukraine at a later time, saying earlier this week that his government "will look at all the requests from Ukraine but we're not there yet for the Leopard 2 tanks."

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