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President Zelenskyy brings Ukraine update to Canada in person

Leader speaking in Parliament among several Canadian stops
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his wife Olena Zelenska arrive at the Ottawa airport for a visit to Canada, on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Ottawa late Thursday night for his first official visit to Canada since Russia launched a full-scale invasion in February 2022.

The Ukrainian president and his wife, Olena Zelenska, arrived in a plane adorned with the Ukrainian flag, and the plane’s crew placed the blue-and-yellow flag outside the window of the cockpit upon landing.

The pair were greeted on the tarmac by a small delegation that included Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, Yuliya Kovaliv.

Zelenskyy embraced all three before he and the rest of his delegation got into a motorcade and left the airport.

He has a busy Friday planned, including meetings with top Canadian officials and members of the Ukrainian Canadian community.

Zelenskyy is also set to address Parliament — his first in-person address since the war began.

He and Trudeau are expected to sign an agreement to continue strengthening economic ties between the two countries.

The Ukrainian leader spoke at the UN General Assembly in New York City this week, where Trudeau appealed to other nations to support Ukraine’s war effort and called on Russia to withdraw its troops.

Canada has provided more than $4.95 billion in financial support and $1.8 billion in military aid for Ukraine.

That includes ammunition, weapons, protective equipment, armoured vehicles and tanks — along with providing training for Ukrainian soldiers in the U.K. and Latvia.

Still, Ukraine has been asking its allies to step up their donations and help with its counteroffensive, which observers say has been moving slowly.

Zelenskyy is also planning to travel to Toronto to meet with business leaders and attend an event, the Prime Minister’s Office says.

Trudeau visited Kyiv in June and addressed the Ukrainian parliament, pledging Canada’s unwavering support.

READ ALSO: Imagine the war in your cities, Zelenskyy says as he pleads for more help from Canada