July 14, 2024

TORONTO (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will speak to the Canadian Parliament on Friday as part of his campaign to bolster support from Western allies for Ukraine’s war against the Russian invasion.

Zelenskyy flew into Canada’s capital late Thursday after meetings with U.S. President Joe Biden and lawmakers in Washington. He spoke at the United Nations’ annual meeting Wednesday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who also planned to speak to Parliament on Friday, gave Zelenskyy a warm welcome on the tarmac at Ottawa’s airport.

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

After their speechs, Zelenskyy and Trudeau are scheduled to go to Toronto to meet with the local Ukrainian community. Canada is home to about 1.4 million people of Ukrainian descent, close to 4% of the population.

Canada’s U.N. ambassador, Bob Rae, said it is important for Zelenskyy to see the extent to which Canada supports Ukraine in the war.

“We have done a lot to help him and we need to do more,” Rae said. “We’re going to continue to do everything we can to support the Ukrainian people.”

Canada has provided more than $8.9 billion Canadian (US$6.6 billion) in support to Ukraine in what Trudeau’s government calls the highest per-capita direct financial support to Ukraine in the Group of 7 industrial nations.

More than 175,000 Ukrainians have come to Canada since the war started and n 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 permeant residency and citizenship.

Zelenskyy is facing questions in Washington about the flow of American dollars that for 19 months has helped keep his troops in the fight against Russian forces.

Ukrainian troops are struggling to take back territory that Russia gained over the past year. Their progress in the next month or so before the rains come and the ground turns to mud could be critical in rousing additional global support over the winter.

Zelenskyy made his first official visit to Canada in 2019.

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