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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister and Dutch Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street in London, on March 7 following their meeting mainly focused on the situation between Ukraine and Russia.ALBERTO PEZZALI/AFP/Getty Images

Canada poked Russia in the eye Monday by sanctioning 10 people on the wish list of Vladimir Putin’s top domestic opponent as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spent his first day of a four-country European tour in London.

Trudeau, his British host Boris Johnson and their Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte did their best to project solidarity with Ukraine in the face of the unrelenting Russian invasion.

They chose a historic setting to kick off their talks: the Royal Air Force Station Northolt outside of London, which played a key role in the Battle of Britain that ultimately saved the island nation from a Nazi Germany bombardment in Second World War.

Johnson took apparent pride in telling his two guests that this was where Britain hosted Poland’s air force during the great battle when it registered the most “kills” of Luftwaffe warplanes. Rutte also acknowledged the role the base played in the Second World War.

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Russian forces target civilians trying to flee besieged Ukrainian cities

But Canada, Britain and their NATO are not keen to repeat the history of that great air battle any time soon. The have rejected desperate Ukrainian pleas for a no-fly zone to protect their civilians from Russian bombardment because they fear it could start a new world war if they engage with Russian planes.

As they moved to 10 Downing Street, where the Ukraine flag fluttered next to the Union Jack, to hold more talks and a closing news conference, Trudeau was met with a reminder of the modern unrest that has dogged his government.

Protesters greeted him outside the official residence, cursing at him and waving Canadian flags and placards calling for the release of Tamara Lich, one of the organizers of last month’s antigovernment protests in Ottawa.

Inside, the three leaders were forced to confront the tough questions of dealing with the new Russian war on Europe, including the implications for the continent’s reliance on Russian oil, and whether all allies would need to spend far more on their militaries – a thorny issue for all Canadian leaders since the 1990s.

But Trudeau came with an announcement, aimed squarely at Putin: sanctions against 10 more prominent Russians.

“The names of these individuals come from a list compiled by jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny. The sanctions put increased pressure on Russia’s leadership, including on Putin’s inner circle.”

Navalny is currently in a Russian prison on politically motivated charges after surviving an attempted poisoning in 2020 that many have blamed on Putin and his cronies. The Russian leader has denied any involvement.

Johnson, meanwhile, unveiled more than $200-million in additional aid for Ukraine. The three leaders acknowledged the economic pressure sanctions are having in their own countries but insisted on the need to stop Russia.

The three leaders also acknowledged the need to increase defence spending in response to both Russia’s actions and growing instability around the world.

Asked whether Canada would increase its spending to meet NATO’s two per cent of GDP target, as Germany has recently announced, Trudeau noted that his government has previously promised billions of dollars for the Canadian military.

But the prime minister also acknowledged the world has changed since his government released its defence policy in 2017, and that more may be needed.

Earlier in the day after they met British air force personnel that have trained the Ukrainian military, Trudeau said: “We want to stand with the Ukrainian people and push back hard against Russia.”

Trudeau met with each leader separately before they all met together to strategize on the response of NATO countries to the conflict. The leaders all spoke of the unified response to Russia, and Trudeau said he also wanted “to talk about countering misinformation.”

An adviser to the Ukrainian president said Monday a fourth round of talks with Russia would begin later in the day as the Russian bombardment entered its 12th day, inflicting upwards of 360 civilian casualties.

Trudeau also had an audience with the Queen at Windsor Castle Monday. This was the Queen’s first in-person audience with a leader since she tested positive for COVID-19 on Feb. 20. Trudeau said she was very insightful as they discussed the current global situation.

“I’ve had the particular privilege of having known Her Majesty 45 years,” said Trudeau, who first met the Queen as a child with his father, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau. The current prime minister said she “very interested in what’s going on” and that he found their conversation “really useful.”

In the coming days, Trudeau will also be meeting with other leaders in Riga, Latvia, Berlin and Warsaw, Poland.

The prime minister’s agenda in Europe also includes a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and a visit to the Latvian military base where hundreds of Canadian Forces personnel are contributing to Canada’s leadership in that country of NATO’s long-standing deterrence mission to bolster its eastern European flank against Russia.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly was in Romania on Monday, where she spoke with top officials as that country opens its doors to Ukrainian refugees.

International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan is travelling to Geneva and then join Trudeau in eastern Europe to meet with the United Nations and others for talks on Ukraine.

Civilians flee Irpin, near Ukraine's capital of Kyiv, amid attacks from Russian forces on March 5 and 6 during a shaky ceasefire. Shelling on civilians leaving Irpin on Sunday killed at least three people, including two children, according to a media report distributed by the Ukrainian parliament.

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