Ottawa Welcomes President Zelenskyy
Strengthening Canada-Ukraine relations
In a significant display of solidarity, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine will be visiting Canada from September 21 to 22, 2023. This visit marks a crucial milestone in the ongoing efforts to bolster the relationship between the two nations and support Ukraine’s steadfast defense against Russia’s unwarranted invasion. Canada reaffirms its unwavering support for Ukraine and its people, pledging to stand by their side for as long as necessary.
Renewed Commitment to Ukrainian Sovereignty
In the heart of Ottawa, Prime Minister Trudeau will engage in critical discussions with President Zelenskyy, reiterating Canada’s unwavering commitment to providing military, economic, humanitarian, and developmental support to Ukraine. These vital resources aid Ukraine’s ongoing battle against Russia’s aggressive war.
The leaders will also join in a momentous signing ceremony, further enhancing the economic ties that bind the two nations.
A Parliament Address and a Toronto Rendezvous
During his time in Ottawa, President Zelenskyy will have the honor of addressing the Canadian Parliament, emphasizing the importance of international cooperation and support for Ukraine. The journey then continues to Toronto, where the Ukrainian leader will engage with Canadian business leaders, promoting increased private sector investments in Ukraine’s prosperous future. In a show of unity, both leaders will attend an event with Canadians, including the vibrant Ukrainian-Canadian community.
Canada’s Unyielding Support
Canada, standing shoulder to shoulder with its Allies and partners, is committed to exerting economic pressure on Vladimir Putin’s regime until it respects Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. This includes sectors crucial to Russia, such as oil and gas. Canada remains steadfast in its support of Ukraine’s quest for freedom, independence, and democracy.
In a statement, Prime Minister Trudeau declared,
“The Ukrainian people are the tip of the spear that is determining the future of the 21st century. 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.”
“I look forward to welcoming President Zelenskyy to Canada to continue building on our support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people as they contend with the effects of Russia’s brutal war of aggression.”
A Presidential Presence: First Lady Olena Zelenska Joins
Notably, President Zelenskyy will be accompanied by the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, underscoring the significance of this visit. Since January 2022, Canada has demonstrated its commitment to Ukraine with over $8.9 billion in multifaceted support, including direct financial aid and substantial military assistance.
Budget 2023 extended a $2.4 billion loan to Ukraine, further bolstering its budgetary needs. Canada’s per-capita financial support for Ukraine within the G7 is the highest, exemplifying its dedication to the cause.
Military Assistance Beyond Borders
Canada’s assistance extends beyond financial support, with Operation UNIFIER extended until 2026. Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are providing essential training to Ukrainian military and security personnel, totaling over 38,000 trained since the operation’s inception.
Moreover, Operation REASSURANCE, Canada’s most extensive overseas mission, reinforces NATO’s collective defense in Central and Eastern Europe, contributing significantly to the Alliance’s deterrence and defense efforts.
Canada’s military aid to Ukraine includes advanced weaponry like Leopard 2 tanks, National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), combat support vehicles, anti-tank weapons, and more. Additionally, Canada and its Allies have established a joint coalition to train the Ukrainian Air Force in operating and maintaining F-16 fighter aircraft.
Humanitarian Aid and Refugees
Since January 2022, Canada has allocated $352.5 million in humanitarian aid to address the impacts of Russia’s invasion, extending a helping hand to Ukraine and neighboring countries. Welcoming over 175,000 Ukrainians, Canada provides safe refuge and support services to ease their transition, including language training and employment-related services.
Furthermore, Canada has pledged $147 million in development assistance, focusing on critical areas such as mental health support, demining, climate change mitigation, and more. In 2022, trade between Canada and Ukraine reached $150.2 million in merchandise exports and $271.2 million in imports, reflecting a 19 percent increase.
Standing Against Annexation
Since Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea in 2014, Canada has imposed sanctions on more than 2,600 individuals and entities. These measures have been taken in concert with Canada’s Allies and partners, affirming its dedication to upholding international norms and principles.
President Zelenskyy’s visit to Canada symbolizes a shared commitment to a peaceful, democratic world order and the unity of nations in the face of aggression. As the two leaders convene, they reinforce the importance of collective action and unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and democracy.