Zelenskyy meets Trudeau and thanks Canada for Ukraine aid

President tries to shore up continued support from western allies as war with Russia drags on

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers a speech in the House of Commons in Ottawa. AP
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on a visit to Canada, the third leg of a tour aimed at bolstering international support for his country's struggle to repulse the Russian invasion.

Mr Zelenskyy, who landed late on Thursday in Ottawa, earlier this week addressed the UN and stopped in Washington for meetings with US politicians and President Joe Biden, who pledged the imminent arrival of tanks to boost Ukraine's arsenal.

Canada is home to the world's second-largest Ukrainian diaspora population and Mr Zelenskyy, visiting parliament, expressed his thanks for the backing given to Kyiv since Russian troops crossed the Ukrainian border in February last year.

“Thank you for your support. You've been with us from the first days of the full-scale war … I hope that you stay with us to our victory,” Mr Zelenskyy said after chatting with a senator of Ukrainian descent who came to parliament wearing traditional garb.

Canada has provided Ukraine with $6.6 billion in military and other aid and Mr Trudeau vowed that he would continue to stand “strongly and unequivocally” with the country, Reuters reported.

“The Ukrainian people are the tip of the spear that is determining the future of the 21st century,” Mr Trudeau said in a statement.

Mr Zelenskyy addressed parliament before flying with Mr Trudeau to Toronto for meetings with business leaders and members of the Ukrainian-Canadian community.

“Canadian support for Ukraine with weapons and equipment has allowed us to save thousands of lives,” said Mr Zelenskyy.

“Canada's leadership in sanctions against Russia for this war and terror really encouraged others in the world to follow your lead.”

Mr Trudeau pledged an additional $482 million for Ukraine, AFP reported.

The three-year “predictable, steady support for Ukraine” would include about 50 armoured vehicles as well as training for F-16 pilots, he told parliament.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy blasts Russia during first in-person UNGA speech since invasion

Volodymyr Zelenskyy blasts Russia during first in-person UNGA speech since invasion

With the Ukrainian cause getting an increasingly chilly reception from the Republican Party in Washington and signs of war fatigue in Europe, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said she was concerned about how solid support remains.

“Am I worried about whether the rest of the world, the rest of our allies will continue to be resolute? Of course. You have to work hard to maintain that support, to maintain that coalition,” she told public broadcaster CBC Thursday.

Canada's aid to Ukraine has included more than $1.3 billion in military aid, including Leopard 2 tanks, air defence and artillery systems, anti-tank weapons, drones and other equipment.

It has also trained more than 36,000 Ukrainian soldiers.

“If we can play a role in stiffening the spines of some of our other friends and allies, we'll be happy to do that, too,” Ms Freeland said.

On Thursday, Mr Zelenskyy spoke with Mr Biden on weakening political support in the US for his country's demands for more arms.

“We're with you and we're staying with you,” Mr Biden told Mr Zelenskyy at the White House.

Updated: September 22, 2023, 7:56 PM