Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has met with close ally Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who pledged additional aid to the war-torn country, as Volodymyr Zelensky completed the third leg in a tour aimed at bolstering international support.
Zelensky, who landed late Thursday in Ottawa, earlier this week addressed the United Nations and stopped in Washington on Thursday for meetings with the US Congress and President Joe Biden, who pledged the imminent arrival of US tanks to boost Ukraine’s arsenal.
Canada is home to the world’s second largest Ukrainian diaspora and Zelensky, in a speech to parliament, expressed thanks for the backing given to Kyiv since Russian troops poured over the Ukrainian borders in February 2022.
“When we call on the world to support us, it is not just about an ordinary conflict,” he said, “It is about saving the lives of millions of people — literally our salvation.”
Canada, he said, has “always defended justice and I had no doubt that you would choose the side of freedom and justice when Russia launched a full-scale war against Ukraine.”
“Thank you,” he said.
Zelensky concluded his remarks with an Indigenous word taught to him by Canada’s governor general, Mary Simon, that roughly translates to: “Don’t give up, stay strong against all odds.”
Trudeau vowed that he would continue to stand “strongly and unequivocally” with the pro-Western country, unveiling on Friday an additional Can$650 million over three years.
The pledge includes 50 armoured vehicles and training for F-16 fighter pilots, which comes on top of the $6.6 billion (Can$8.9 billion) in aid that Ottawa has already contributed.
“History will judge us on how we defend democratic values. And Ukraine is at the tip of the spear in this great challenge of the 21st century,” Trudeau told parliament.
“We will be with you and all heroes of this courageous fight for as long as it takes,” he said.
Zelensky was due later in the day to fly with Trudeau to Toronto for meetings with business leaders and members of the Ukrainian-Canadian community.
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.
Madukwe B. Nwabuisi is an accomplished journalist renown for his fearless reporting style and extensive expertise in the field. He is an investigative journalist, who has established himself as a kamikaze reporter.