Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Canada’s Parliament Friday with the announcement of another CAN$650 million (US$483 million) in aid and training on F-16 fighter jets.
The money is for 50 armored vehicles to be built in Canada over a three-year period and it brings the total aid to Ukraine so far to about CAN$10 billion (US$7.4 billion).
In his address, Zelenskyy was effusive in thanks to Canada. But he grew serious and also evoked a picture of the devastation caused by the Russian war in his country 19 months ago.
“It is genocide (and) it must not go unpunished,” he told lawmakers in the House of Commons in Ottawa, adding that “this Russian aggression must end in our victory.”
That remark earned Zelenskyy one of several prolonged standing ovations and left no doubt that Canada, as Trudeau has said on several occasions, will support Ukraine for “as long as it takes” to ensure the beleaguered county is freed from Moscow’s grasp.
Trudeau, who has made trips to Ukraine, said what Russian President Vladimir Putin has unleashed through the invasion is devastating.
“I have seen Putin’s destructive evil first hand,” Trudeau told lawmakers in his introductory remarks. “What Putin has done is a break with civilization.”
Zelenskyy, who arrived in Ottawa from Washington, DC late Thursday night accompanied by his wife Olena, said the Canadian aid has allowed Ukraine to save thousands of lives.
His visit comes following stops in the US on Thursday, where his goal was to rally continued support from Washington in his war with Russia. Wednesday, he made the keep-supporting-Ukraine pitch to the UN.
It was his first in-person trip since the outbreak of war, although Zelenskyy did address Canadian lawmakers via Zoom in 2022. He is one of a handful of people to address Canadian Parliament twice, the others being British prime ministers Margaret Thatcher and Anthony Eden, as well as US presidents Ronald Reagan and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Canada has the second largest diaspora of Ukrainians in the world with a population of about 1.4 million. As of July, nearly 170,000 Ukrainian refugees had come to Canada since the beginning of the conflict.