Zelensky gets standing ovation as he calls on Canada to ‘stay with’ Ukraine: ‘Moscow must lose’

Zelensky gets standing ovation as he calls on Canada to ‘stay with’ Ukraine: ‘Moscow must lose’

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky called on Canada to “stay with” his country in its war against Russia, in his first visit to the country since the start of the invasion.

The Ukrainian president arrived in Canada’s capital Ottawa late on Thursday night and addressed the parliament on Friday where he sought to bolster support from Western allies for Ukraine’s war.

“Moscow must lose once and for all. And it will lose,” Mr Zelensky said during his address on Friday.

He repeatedly thanked Canadians for financial support and for making Ukrainians fleeing war feel at home in Canada, prompting a number of standing ovations from dignitaries and parliamentarians.

Mr Zelensky said Canada has always been on the “bright side of history” in fighting previous wars and said it has helped saved thousands of lives in this war with its aid to Kyiv.

Canada is home to about 1.4 million people of Ukrainian descent, close to 4 per cent of the population.

More than 175,000 Ukrainians have come to Canada since the war started and an additional 700,000 have received approval to come as part of an initiative that supports temporary relocation of those fleeing the war.

The initiative allows for an open work permit for three years with pathways to permanent residency and citizenship.

In his speech Mr Zelensky linked the suffering of Ukrainians now to the 1930s genocide caused by Stalin, when the Soviet leader was blamed for creating a man-made famine in Ukraine believed to have killed more than 3 million people.

He also noted that it was in Edmonton, Canada, where the world’s first monument was erected in 1993 to commemorate the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide.

The Ukrainian president expressed hope that a monument would one day be raised in Canada to Ukraine’s victory over Russia’s invasion, “maybe in Edmonton.”

“I have a lot of warm words and thanks from Ukraine to you,” Mr Zelensky said in prime minister Justin Trudeau’s office before his speech.

“You have helped us on the battlefield, financially and with humanitarian aid. … Stay with us to our victory.”

It is Mr Zelensky’s first visit to Canada since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. He previously addressed the Canadian Parliament virtually after the war started.

Mr Trudeau called the visit an opportunity to show Mr Zelensky “how strongly and unequivocally we stand with Ukraine” and announced an additional $650m Canadian (£394m) over three years for 50 armored vehicles that will be built in Canada.

“We are shifting our approach to provide multiyear assistance to ensure Ukraine has the predictable support it needs for long term support,” Mr Trudeau said at a news conference.

Mr Zelensky and Mr Trudeau also attended a rally in Toronto with the local Ukrainian community late Friday.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau (R) and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky interact on stage during a rally at Fort York in Toronto, Canada

(Getty Images)

The visit comes as cracks begin to appear in the united Western front backing Ukraine for the last 19 months of gruelling war against Russia with hard-right Republicans led by Donald Trump becoming increasingly hostile to sending more aid and key partner Poland saying it will no longer send arms to Kyiv.

Ukrainian troops are struggling to take back territory that Russia gained over the past year and with no end to war in sight, Mr Zelensky has a hard road ahead to keep the momentum in favour of Kyiv going, a task for which allies like Canada play a key role.

Additional reporting by agencies

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