Retired Canadian Armed Forces general Rick Hillier says he’s frustrated by Germany’s reluctance to allow other countries to send their German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
Hillier, who was in Red Deer to be the guest speaker at a fundraising RCMP Regimental Dinner Monday night, said Canada has already done some good things to help the determined people of Ukraine and their president.
“I think the Germans need to step up here. We don’t know how Putin will behave in defeat. But we know how he behaved in victory when he got as far as Bucha… it was brutal and it was criminal and it was tragic,” said Hillier about the torture and executions by Russian troops and the mass graves they left behind.
Ian Wheeliker, executive director of The Outreach Centre, said the Regimental Diner is an opportunity to recognize both the RCMP’s 150 years in Canada and the 80th anniversary of the RCMP in Red Deer which works together with community agencies on complex issues like domestic violence.
Money raised will go directly towards the centre’s programs which focus on suicide prevention and education, housing and homelessness, the stress of poverty on families, as well as domestic violence.
“It’s tough times but I know this about Albertans, when we go through tough times, those that can give give even more. We’re a hard working people and we take care of each other,” Wheeliker said.
Hillier meanwhile, currently chairs the Ukrainian World Congress’ Strategic Advisory Council which advocates for Ukraine.
He said once Germany approves, then countries like Canada need to send Ukraine Leopard 2 tanks, and should also provide training for Ukrainian forces whether for soldiers, officers, or collective training to put together all the elements for battle.
“We want to make sure the outcome is victory for Ukraine and that Russia gets a bloody nose out of this and goes home, and ideally has a country that has a leadership other than somebody who is a murderer and a killer,” said Hillier about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He said Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is the most incredible leader since Winston Churchill, but he needs help from the West to equip Ukraine’s forces.
“He’s very focused. He’s built a leadership team and command team comprised of young, brilliant, decisive, hard-charging, hard-driving men and women and they’re building armed forces so that they can survive.”
Hillier said Putin is also focused on surviving so it’s hard to see him escalating to nuclear weapons.
“I do believe the message has been clearly sent to him that if you do something that stupid, the conventional response from NATO will be immense. We’ll sink every ship in the Black fleet. We’ll sink every ship in the Baltic fleet, every unit in Ukraine will be targeted by conventional weapons.”
He said the capability and precision of conventional weapons is all that would be needed to respond.