Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a speech to the Canadian Parliament on Tuesday. The appointment, carried out by videoconference, summoned deputies and senators from the North American country in a special session. “How can this massive and unprecedented aggression be explained?” Zelensky asked lawmakers about the Moscow-orchestrated offensive. “We want to live. We want victory,” said the president.
Zelensky’s participation was a direct invitation from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The President of Ukraine had addressed the European deputies on March 1; a week later he did so before the British Parliament. Trudeau said that he sees “a friend” in Zelensky. “Volodimír, I have known you for years and have always considered you a defender of democracy. And now democracies around the world are lucky to have you as their advocate,” he stated. “Your courage, and that of your people, inspires us all. You defend the right of Ukrainians to choose their own future. And, by doing so, you are upholding the values that are the pillars of all free and democratic countries,” he added.
Trudeau emphasized the contribution of the Ukrainian-Canadian community in different spheres. Canada has the second largest diaspora from that country (only behind Russia). In the last census, about 1.4 million people declared to have Ukrainian roots. Volodymyr Zelensky: “I would like you to understand, as far as possible, our feelings and emotions in the last 20 days. Imagine hearing the shots, the explosions.” Zelensky continued: “Imagine Ottawa airport bombed like ours are being bombed. Imagine the city of Vancouver under siege like Mariupol. How do you explain all this to your children?
The Ukrainian president thanked the help provided so far by the Canadian government and members of the Ukrainian diaspora. However, he said that his country requires more support. Zelensky stressed that a greater effort is necessary so that Russia cannot continue financing its war operations; he also reiterated his request to do everything possible to “close the airspace to Russian missiles and aircraft.”
Candice Bergen, acting head of the Conservative Party, vehemently criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying his plans had no regard for human suffering. She also said that Canada has a moral obligation to continue to support Ukraine and called for the Trudeau government to work with its allies to secure “at least the airspace over the humanitarian corridors.”
The legislators applauded Volodymyr Zelensky for several minutes and shouted in unison “Slava Ukrani” (“glory to Ukraine”). Zelensky will deliver a speech on Wednesday before members of the US Congress. This Tuesday, Moscow published a list with the names of 313 Canadians who will be banned from entering Russia. The document includes Justin Trudeau, the foreign and defense ministers, as well as most Ottawa parliamentarians.
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