OTTAWA: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met on Friday with close ally Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on a visit to Canada, the third leg in a tour aimed at bolstering international support for his country´s struggle to repulse a brutal Russian invasion.
Zelensky, who landed late on 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, visiting parliament, expressed thanks for the backing given to Kyiv since Russian troops poured over the Ukrainian borders in February 2022.
“Thank you for your support. You´ve been with us from the first days of the full scale war” and “I hope that you stay with us to our victory,” Zelensky said after chatting with a senator of Ukrainian descent who came wearing her grandmother´s traditional garb.
Canada has provided Ukraine with $6.6 billion (Can$8.9 billion) in military and other aid and Trudeau vowed that he would continue to stand “strongly and unequivocally” with the pro-Western country.
“The Ukrainian people are the tip of the spear that is determining the future of the 21st century,” Trudeau said in a statement. Zelensky was due to address parliament before flying 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.