Zelensky tells Canada its help has saved 'thousands and thousands of lives'

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky shakes hands with New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh (R) as Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) looks on in Ottawa on Friday. Photo by Ukrainian Presidential Press Service
1 of 2 | Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky shakes hands with New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh (R) as Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) looks on in Ottawa on Friday. Photo by Ukrainian Presidential Press Service

Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Canada on Friday welcomed Volodymyr Zelensky to Ottawa, where the Ukrainian president addressed a joint session of Parliament in the afternoon.

Zelensky and first lady Olena Zelenska landed in the Canadian capital shortly after midnight and were greeted on the airport tarmac by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other government officials.


Later Friday afternoon, Zelensky addressed the national Parliament before traveling with Trudeau to Toronto, where they will try to persuade Canadian executives to make private sector investments in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian president thanked his Canadian hosts for helping his nation defend itself from an invading Russia.

"Canada's support for Ukraine with weapons and equipment has allowed us to save thousands and thousands of lives," Zelensky said.

Zelensky emphasized that, in 1983, Canada became the first nation to host a monument to the victims of the Holodomor famine, which saw millions of Ukrainians starve to death in the 1930s under the policies of Josef Stalin.


"At the time, Ukraine didn't yet have memorials commemorating the victims of genocide of Ukrainians because Ukraine was under Moscow's control," Zelensky said.

Zelensky also personally thanked Trudeau for his support.

"It is not just about choosing the right side, it is about being a leader on the right side, and you always do that. Canada, thank you," the Ukrainian leader said.

"We stand and we fight for life. Ukraine, not genocide. It will be victorious in this war. People will be the winners, not the Kremlin. Freedom will be the winner," Zelensky continued.

The leaders also were scheduled to hold a signing ceremony on a deal to strengthen long-term financial cooperation between the two countries.

Later, they planned to attend a community event hosted by Ukrainian nationals.

In a statement ahead of Zelensky's visit, Trudeau reiterated Canada's ongoing military, economic, and humanitarian support for Kyiv, and vowed "Canada will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes."

Trudeau said Canada would continue to work with its NATO partners to apply more economic pressure on Moscow by continuing to sanction its oil and gas industries around the world.

"As I said when I addressed the Ukrainian parliament this June: The Ukrainian people are the tip of the spear that is determining the future of the 21st century," Trudeau said. "Canada remains unwavering in our support to the people of Ukraine as they fight for their sovereignty and their democracy, as well as our shared values like respect for the rule of law, freedom, and self-determination."


Zelensky's visit comes one day after the Ukrainian leader secured a $128 million arms-assistance deal from the United States during meetings with President Joe Biden and a number of bipartisan lawmakers in Washington.

The money will provide Ukraine with weapons and equipment from the U.S. Defense stockpile.

Zelensky's mission to keep war aid flowing to Kyiv met with some resistance on Capitol Hill Thursday as Congressional Republicans voiced opposition to continued funding for the war.

"Where is the accountability on the money we already spent?" House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters Wednesday. "What is the plan for victory? I think that's what the American public wants to know."

Since the war began in Feb. 2022, NATO allies have provided more than $71 billion in military assistance to Ukraine, while the United States has provided more than $35 billion in additional military support.

Earlier this year, the U.S. delivered $2 billion in defense funds and equipment as part of a new security assistance package to mark the one-year anniversary of the invasion.

Biden also asked Congress for $250 million in additional emergency energy assistance to help Ukraine maintain its power grid, and another $300 million in emergency aid to bring energy independence to neighboring Moldova.


Meanwhile, Canada has delivered more than $8.9 billion in aid to Ukraine since 2022, including $4.95 billion in direct financial support and over $1.8 billion in military aid in the form of armored vehicles, tanks, ammunition, air defense equipment and artillery systems. The money also included $352.5 million for humanitarian assistance.

Trudeau's government also extended a $2.4 billion loan to Ukraine this year to help sustain Ukraine's economy through the war, while the Canadian Armed Forces have provided training to Ukrainian troops and have helped deliver military equipment to Ukraine for more than a year.

Canada has also given sanctuary to more than 175,000 Ukrainians refugees who fled the conflict.

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