Zelensky to visit Canada for first time since Russia invasion: reports

Canada, home to a significant Ukrainian diaspora, has not shied away from supporting Kyiv. Since February 2022, Ottawa has given Ukraine nearly $9 billion in aid, including $1.8 billion in military assistance.

Zelensky to visit Canada for first time since Russia invasion: reports
Facebook/ Chrystia Freeland
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Ukraine has won the taxpayer lottery again as Canada will donate millions more in military aid to the war-torn nation.

On September 17, Defence Minister Bill Blair announced Canada would purchase $33 million in air defence equipment for the Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian drone strikes as part of a U.K.-led coalition.

"The purpose of this coalition is to procure high priority air defence equipment for Ukraine, including hundreds of short and medium-range air defence missiles [and] associated systems, to enable Ukraine to protect itself from Russian aggression," he said.

The CBC reported the announcement came while visiting the Lydd Military Training Camp, where Canadian soldiers are stationed to train Ukrainian soldiers as part of Operation UNIFIER.

Blair clarified that the contribution is part of the $500 million in aid announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in June.

"We're thankful for everything you did for us, for our people, refugees and our army," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Trudeau at the time.

As first reported by The Globe and Mail, Zelensky is expected to travel to Toronto and Ottawa later this week after a quick stop in Washington. 

He is expected to meet Trudeau and other cabinet ministers, as well as prominent Ukrainians in Canada with a scheduled address to the House of Commons.

Canada, home to a significant Ukrainian diaspora, has not shied away from supporting Kyiv during the Russian invasion.

Since February 2022, Ottawa has given Ukraine nearly $9 billion in aid, including $1.8 billion in military assistance.

The military aid includes artillery, air defence systems, rocket launchers, defensive equipment, ammunition, hundreds of armoured vehicles and nearly a dozen Leopard 2 tanks.

"The work that they're doing is something that all Canadians are proud of and should be proud of because they're saving lives," said Blair.

The feds have donated over 200 armoured vehicles as part of a larger $500 million assistance package announced in November, with $406 million in NASAMS and an unspecified number of air-defence missiles.

The $406 million air defence donation went through despite the Canadian military operating without similar air defence capabilities since 2012. Plans for a new air defence system for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) remain in limbo and could cost $1 billion.

"We will be there until Ukraine wins the war," Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters in April.

"Ukrainians right now are fighting for the fundamentals of democracy, the U.N. Charter — the values and principles that underpin our country and so many others. That's why we stand with Ukraine," Trudeau added then.

Former Ukrainian defence minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk, who is still serving as an adviser to Ukraine, told Rosemary Barton Live they made progress in the war effort.

"The quantity of mines is absolutely staggering," he told host Rosemary Barton.

"It's very, very hard, with lots of casualties. It's an extremely difficult endeavour, but it is succeeding."

Be advised that this is an ongoing and evolving news story. Specifics regarding Zelensky's visit will be updated later this week.

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