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Kenney denounces 'Putin's aggression' as he renews calls to build Keystone XL

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Alberta's premier criticized the presidents of both Russia and the United States Wednesday ahead of a meeting where he announced that a million Alberta tax dollars will be sent to Ukraine.

Jason Kenney met with former Alberta premier Ed Stelmach and the Consul General of Ukraine in Edmonton, Oleksandr Danyleiko, at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The premier said the contribution to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress will be used for "first aid and medical support" for citizens in that country. There are roughly 400,000 Albertans with some Ukrainian ancestry.

"We are deeply concerned about Vladimir Putin's aggression compromising the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine," Kenney said at a morning press conference.

"Alberta has a huge and dynamic Ukrainian community and it's important to all of us that we stand in solidarity with them."

Hopes for a diplomatic way out of a potentially devastating war in Europe appeared all but sunk as the U.S. and key European allies accused Moscow of crossing a red line Tuesday.

Russian troops rolled over Ukraine's border and into separatist regions, with some calling it an invasion.

On Thursday afternoon, as fighting in Ukraine continued, Kenney said on Twitter that "Alberta oil is better than dictator oil."

"We are working to make sure Alberta gets the credit it deserves."


'KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE WOULD SURE BE BENEFICIAL'


Kenney also called on U.S. President Joe Biden to reinstate the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline project, so Americans can buy more oil from Alberta instead of Russia.

"President Biden is now importing over 800,000 barrels a day of conflict oil, filling the treasuries of Vladimir Putin's Russia, that is fuelling this military aggression against Ukraine. This is unacceptable," Kenney argued.

The premier demanded that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lobby Biden to allow the pipeline to be built.

American members of congress and a Fox TV host echoed Kenney's call to build the pipeline.

"You know what, having a Keystone XL pipeline would sure be beneficial right now, considering the global situation. We need this administration to stop making stupid decisions," tweeted Dan Crenshaw, a Republican congressman from Texas.

On Tuesday, Trudeau unveiled Canada’s “first round” of economic sanctions against Russia for its recognition of independence of two non-government controlled Eastern Ukraine regions and the ordering of troops there.

Kenney said he wants stiffer sanctions against Russia. Journalists were not permitted to ask questions during his evening announcement.

With files from CTV News' Sarah Turnbull and The Associated Press