ukraine pm visit to canada

As it happened: Zelenskyy visits Canada, addresses Parliament as PM pledges $650M in Ukraine aid

Addressing a joint session of Parliament, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy offered repeated thanks to Canada for its continued support for his country as it continues to defend itself from Russia's invasion.

His speech was the marquee event of his visit to Canada, and he used the opportunity to make his case for why persisting allegiance is needed. Speaking to a rapt crowd, he said Canada's assistance so far has saved thousands of lives, and is helping strip Vladimir Putin from the ability to use energy as a weapon of war.

"This Russian aggression must end with our victory," Zelenskyy told the House of Commons, after painting a grim picture of the kinds of horrors seen on the streets in the last 19 months.

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During the visit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada will be making a $650 million "multi-year commitment that provides predictable, steady support to Ukraine," which will include sending more armoured vehicles, as well as other mental health and charity funding boosts. Canada has also levelled new sanctions against Russia.

"In this era of uncertainty and of resurgent great power competition, rules are what will protect us… History will judge us on how we defend democratic values and Ukraine is at the tip of the spear in this great challenge of the 21st century," Trudeau said, introducing the Ukrainian leader.

"This is a challenge on a generational scale, a challenge that history will judge us on, a challenge we must confront with lionhearted courage."

This visit—his first since Russian President Vladimir Putin's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine—is being held under tight security, and follows stops at the White House in Washington, D.C., and United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

Accompanied by the First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska, prior to, and following his address, the couple made a series of stops alongside Trudeau and members of cabinet, in Ottawa. provided minute-by-minute updates on Zelenskyy's visit. Recap the entire day, below.

4:40 p.m. : Soon, Trudeau, Freeland and the Zelenskyy delegation will travel to Toronto, for evening events, first a meeting holding a roundtable with Canadian business leaders and then an event with members of the Ukrainian-Canadian community. Visit CTV News Toronto for more from those events. This marks the last live update of the day from CTV News' Parliamentary Bureau, thank you for following along. 

4:25 p.m.: Some colour about one of the behind-the-scenes visits: While in the nation's capital, the First Lady of Ukraine met with researchers serving veterans and their families during a visit to the Royal Ottawa Hospital, according to Trudeau's office. She was joined by Minister of Veterans Affairs Ginette Petitpas-Taylor, and Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Ya'ara Saks.

4:20 p.m.: This marks the end of the official Ottawa program of Zelenskyy's visit. To put what unfolded in perspective, today's announcements bring Canada's total committed support to more than $9.5 billion in assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of 2022. "As long as it takes," is the Liberal government's position.

ukraine pm visit to canada

3:53 p.m.: Questioning continues one from Ukraine media around Russian sanction evasions, and one from Canadian media in French, again on the potential war fatigue setting in, that it's getting hard to convince countries to continue to offer more aid. Both respond, Trudeau says he knows it is an economically-difficult time for Canadians, and crises have multiplied since the COVID-19 pandemic, but this support to Ukraine is about helping people get through these hard times, too because of what the consequences would be if Russia was victorious. Zelenskyy, seeming a bit tired, says Trudeau has covered it well. A few minutes later, the press conference ends. 

3:47 p.m.: Zelenskyy speaks about how journalists "are the weapons capable of uniting the society," says he discussed this with Trudeau. "We can not let Russia divide the opinions in the world," he said. Trudeau notes how "interconnected" Canada is and how that provides platforms to raise the continued need to back Ukraine and uphold the rule of law. 

3:45 p.m.: First question is on security guarantees and peace formula. Trudeau in response points to today's announcement, says Canada will pick a few points of peace plan to lead on. Zelenskyy says big task is for Ukraine to get as many countries on-side. Second question is from CTV News' Kevin Gallagher: Did President Biden promised to send Ukraine long-range army tactical missile systems? And for both leaders, how concerned are you about divisions in U.S. Congress and NATO allies like Poland pulling military support for Ukraine... And what can Canada do in that respect with allies? Zelenskyy says they are discussing different types of weapons with the U.S. says Russia is spreading disinformation narratives regarding softening support for Ukraine. 

3:40 p.m.: Q&A kicks off, the pair of world leaders will only take two questions from the Canadian media and two questions from the travelling Ukrainian media.

3:35 p.m.: Zelenskyy speaks in Ukrainian, based on the translator, he said he wanted to come to Canada to personally thank Canadians. He calls Ukraine's desired victory in this war, a "common victory," and emphasized how much he appreciates the latest round of aid being offered as it is highly needed. 

3:32 p.m.:  Other bits of funding: $4.3 million to strengthen nuclear security measures at the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone; $1.7 million for Canadian NGO eQualitie to enhance the cyber resilience of Ukrainian civil society; $2 million for Canadian NGO Parliamentary Centre for technical assistance for the Ukrainian Parliament; $250,000 for Ukrainian NGO Building Ukraine Together for community-level youth engagement and recovery initiative, and $34 million in development assistance for four multi-year initiatives supporting: mental health, small-scale farmers and restoration of agricultural livelihoods, local infrastructure rehabilitation and reconstruction, technical assistance for inclusive recovery.

3:30 p.m. : Trudeau begins by re-announcing what he said in the House earlier, but now with more details. The prime minister announced Canada is "shifting our approach to provide multi-year assistance and ensure Ukraine has the predictable support it needs for long-term success." This "macro economic support" includes: $650M over three years to supply Ukraine with 50 armoured vehicles; detailing allocations of a previously-committed $500 million which will include drone cameras, NATO-standard small arms, and a United Kingdom-led partnership delivering high priority air defence equipment. Trudeau said 63 Russian individuals and entities "complicit in the illegal transfer and custody of Ukrainian children, generating and disseminating disinformation and propaganda, as well as entities in Russia's nuclear sector are being added to the sanctions list."

ukraine pm visit to canada

3:20 p.m.: They sign, shake hands. What they signed was the modernized Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA), "which supports long-term security, stability, and economic development in Ukraine, while also ensuring high-quality market access terms for Canadian businesses participating in Ukraine’s economic recovery." 

3:15 pm.: Ok we have movement. Trudeau and Zelenskyy have just crossed the street, on foot, from Parliament Hill to the Sir John A. Macdonald Building where their signing ceremony "to continue strengthening economic ties between our two countries," and joint media availability will take place. 

3:00 p.m.: Trudeau and Zelenskyy's joint address and media availability is running behind schedule. From the feed inside the room where it's set to take place, the red carpet has been rolled out and Canadian parliamentarians are standing within the camera shot, likely they will either witness, or act as a backdrop for some of what's about to unfold. 

2:35 p.m.: Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre issued a statement, saying he was "pleased to welcome President Zelenskyy to Canada's Parliament and hear his speech." "Conservatives share the Ukrainian values of faith, family, and freedom. We will stand for those values at home and abroad. Ukrainians know better than anyone the importance of freedom as they have had to defeat communism, fascism, and other forms of socialism," the statement continues. Without mentioning Trudeau's latest funding commitment directly, Poilievre says "Canada should continue to help Ukrainians win their freedom." 

2:22 p.m.: The official program ends in the House of Commons, following closing remarks from Senate Speaker Raymonde Gagne. 

ukraine pm visit to canada

2:07 p.m.:  After joking -- he was a comedian pre-politics -- earlier in the day about not speaking French, Zelenskyy offers a "merci, Canada." He speaks about a word Gov. Gen. Mary Simon taught him earlier in the day, which means "don't give up," and "stay strong against all odds." Then, running roughly 20-minutes in total, he ends his address with "Slava Ukraini" which translates to "Glory to Ukraine." A standing ovation follows, and he walks along the front government benches, shaking hands. 

1:59 p.m.: Zelenskyy says Canada's support has allowed for thousands of lives to be saved, and the global push to get off of Russian oil will result in energy no longer being a weapon of war, just an energy resource. This gets big applause. He goes on to say that in his meeting with Trudeau and cabinet ministers, they discussed the Canadian initiative regarding confiscating Russian assets, because "those funds that Russia and its henchmen used to pay for their war should be used to fairly compensate for the damage caused." 

ukraine pm visit to canada

1:52 p.m.:  "This Russian aggression must end with our victory," Zelenskyy says, after painting a grim picture of the kinds of horrors seen on the streets in Ukraine since Putin's invasion. I have already lost track of the number of times he has said "thank you." 

1:48 p.m.: Zelenskyy begins his address with "thank you so much." 

1:42 p.m.: The prime minister announces Canada was making "a longer-term, multi-year commitment that provides predictable, steady support to Ukraine. It will include $650 million over three years for 50 armored vehicles, including medical evacuation vehicles, which will be built by Canadian workers in London, Ont." He also announced the government will send F-16 trainers for pilots and for maintenance, "so Ukrainians are able to maximize their use of donated fighter jets." 

ukraine pm visit to canada

1:38 p.m.: Trudeau, still in his opening remarks, says "in this era of uncertainty and of resurgent great power competition, rules are what will protect us. And it's not enough for them to just be written down somewhere. We must advocate for them, stand up for them, and live by them. History will judge us on how we defend democratic values and Ukraine is at the tip of the spear in this great challenge of the 21st century." As he speaks, Freeland, who is sitting directly behind Zelenskyy, nods. he then recognizes some of the thousands of Ukrainians that have fled to Canada, who are present. 

1:30 p.m.: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the audience. "This is a time of incredible uncertainty. Attacks upon the rules-based international order threaten to upend the peace and prosperity that have been the bedrock of Canada's success. This is a challenge on a generational scale, a challenge that history will judge us on, a challenge we must confront with lionhearted courage," Trudeau says.

"One year, six months and 29 days ago, Vladimir Putin launched a full scale invasion of Ukraine, unleashing a campaign of violence and brutality that has left countless dead and forced millions to flee. But for one year, six months and 29 days, the people of Ukraine have defended their homes, their language, and their freedom to choose their own future. They have fought back with a courage that has inspired the world and they have been led by President Zelenskyy, a great champion of democracy." 

1:28 p.m.:  Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska enter the floor of the House of Commons, to the first of likely many standing ovations. Speaker Rota begins his opening remarks, he calls it an "extraordinary event." 

1:24 p.m.: Deputy House Speaker Chris d'Entremont comes out to update the rapt audience, he gives a five-minute head's up that the main event is about to get underway.  

1:21 p.m.: Chatter in the chamber picks up again as the afternoon address is running a bit behind schedule. 

ukraine pm visit to canada

1:11 p.m.: MPs have taken their seats and chatter fills the chamber as they await Zelenskyy, some politicians have brought their children in to the House for the occasion, some are wearing Ukrainian colours and lapel pins of the Ukrainian flag. Moments later, a silence falls over the Commons as all rise to their feet in applause. 

12:55 p.m.: The House of Commons Chamber is rapidly filling with members of Parliament, Senators, and other dignitaries who will soon be hearing an address from Zelenskyy. Zelenskyy's speech to parliamentarians will be proceeded by introductions from House Speaker Anthony Rota and Trudeau. Afterwards, there will not be remarks from opposition party leaders as is the case with some special addresses.

12:31 p.m.: As part of CTV News Chief Political Correspondent Vassy Kapelos' special live coverage, Liberal MP and chair of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Friendship Group Yvan Baker, called Friday's visit "incredibly significant." "Canadians can be very proud of the contributions that we've made." Baker said he expects Zelenskyy to use his platform in the House of Commons to try to convince those Canadians who may be weary about how much support Canada is offering abroad, at a time of cost-of-living pressures at home.

"I think it's really important that we remember that this war isn't just about Ukraine, it's not just the right thing to do to support Ukraine, although it is, but this is something that touches all of us." Baker said. 

12:15 p.m.:  According to a pool report provided to Parliament Hill media by the designated reporter granted access to the room, during what's been described as an "extended bilat" Trudeau was greeted by Ukraine's Ambassador to Canada Yuliya Kovaliv, and as he took his seat, Zelenskyy joked that there was too much paper in front of him, getting a laugh from the room. The PM was one side of the table with the Canadian delegation, and directly across from him was Zelenskyy and his.

In addition to Canadian ministers, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources John Hannaford, National Security and Intelligence Adviser Jody Thomas, Senior Global Affairs Adviser Patrick Traverse, and Trudeau's Chief of Staff Katie Telford were present, among others.

ukraine pm visit to canada

11:55 a.m.:  CTV News' Annie Bergeron-Oliver has confirmed that on Friday the federal government will announce $650 million in additional military assistance, over the next few years.

As part of that money, Canada will supply more Leopard 2 tanks. Canada will also be applying new sanctions against Russia. Context: Since January 2022, Canada has provided more than $9.8 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian aid. The federal government has also levelled multiple rounds of Russian sanctions, deployed Canadian Armed Forces to Europe to train Ukrainian soldiers, and welcomed more than 175,000 Ukrainians to this country.

11:45 a.m.: Zelenskyy took part in an expanded bilateral meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, Minister of National Defence Bill Blair, Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly, and Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development Mary Ng.

11:05: a.m.:  Zelenskyy says this during his bilateral opening remarks, before media were ushered out of the room: "Thanks so much Justin. Thank you very much for hosting us, me, my wife and my team, and thank you for this invitation. It's a privilege for us to be in Canada... I'm thankful to you, your government and of course to all the Canadians. I have a lot of warm words and thanks to say from Ukrainians to you, your beautiful country. I know it's beautiful, I have no time to see it but I know that it's beautiful. I think after the victory… of course we will come, maybe with children… In this tough period you hosted Ukrainians and you helped us on the battlefield, militarily, and financially, and humanitarian aid, which is crucial. I can say it in English, in Ukrainian, and I am sorry but I have no French… Thank you so much."

ukraine pm visit to canada

11:04 a.m.:  Trudeau and Zelenskyy sit in the PM's office for a bilateral meeting. Trudeau says: "It is an extraordinary privilege and pleasure to be able to welcome my friend Volodymyr to Ottawa. This is yet another opportunity for us to sit down and talk about all the things we need to continue to do together to make sure the rule of law is supported, make sure we're supporting everything that Ukraine is doing. And also make sure we're standing very, very strongly against Russia… But this is also an opportunity for Canadians to express directly to Volodymyr and through him to the Ukrainian people how strongly and unequivocally we stand with Ukraine. It is it is a very exciting day for Canada to be able to welcome you here."

11:01 a.m.:  Zelenskyy was invited to sign the distinguished visitors books of the House and Senate, before heading down the hall for a bilateral meeting with Trudeau.

10:57 a.m. : According to a pool report provided to Parliament Hill media, ahead of the DND event with Blair and Umerov, Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre gave the CAF members a short pep talk, telling them that "first impressions" are important.

"Everybody's got a role in this," Eyre said, referring to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Umerov then entered the room, stood on a small platform, flanked by the Ukrainian and Canadian flags. The Ukrainian and Canadian national anthems played. Upon exiting the building, Conservative MP James Bezan was standing in the foyer, to hold his own meeting with Ukraine's minister.

ukraine pm visit to canada

10:53 a.m.: Ukraine's president has arrived on Parliament Hill. He is greeted by Trudeau, a big hug. His welcoming party includes Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, and other parliamentary officials, including Senators and the speakers of both chambers.

According to the pool report from inside the room, Poilievre said to Zelenskyy that he's proud to come from Western Canada, where many proud Ukrainian's have built Canada. Poilievre then introduced Saskatchewan Sen. Denise Batters, who was wearing a blouse her Ukrainian grandmother had embroidered more than 100 years ago, before coming to Canada.

ukraine pm visit to canada

10:32 a.m.: Members of the Canadian Armed Forces are standing ready for inspection, as National Defence Minister Bill Blair hosts Ukraine's Minister of Defence Rustem Umerov, at National Defence Headquarters.

10:12 a.m.: CTV News reports the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) and Canadian Centre for Cyber Security re-issued their call to "adopt a heightened state of vigilance , and to bolster their awareness of and protection against malicious cyber threats." The CSE emphasized the call especially for operators of government and critical infrastructure websites. 

1 0:04 a.m.:  Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Olena Zelenska enter Rideau Hall, he is dressed in army green, she is in a tan pantsuit. The couple sit down with Canada's governor general, exchanged pleasantries and spoke briefly. 

ukraine pm visit to canada

9:50 a.m.: Zelenskyy's motorcade of what appears to be more than 20 vehicles pulled up the drive at Rideau Hall for Zelenskyy and First Lady's meeting with Gov. Gen. Mary Simon and her husband Whit Fraser.

9:22 a.m.: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill ahead of Zelenskyy's arrival. He didn't respond when CTV News asked if he is going to be pledging more military support for Ukraine during today's visit. In a scrum moments prior, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he would "absolutely" support Canada offering more aid. "There's more that we need to do." Singh said he thinks Ukraine is "fighting not just for their own rights... they're defending the rights of international law and justice for all for all citizens of the world. They're really fighting a battle... for justice for everyone."


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  • International

June 10, 2023 Russia-Ukraine news

By Amarachi Orie, Adrienne Vogt , Tori B. Powell and Matt Meyer , CNN

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau meets with Ukraine's Zelensky in unannounced visit to Kyiv

From CNN's Kostan Nechyporenko, Vasco Cotovio and Sugam Pokharel

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, June 10.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky during an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Saturday. 

“I welcome Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and representatives of his team to Ukraine,” Zelensky said in a post on Telegram . 

The two leaders issued a joint declaration after the meeting, which said:

“The people of Ukraine can count on Canada to continue its political, financial, humanitarian and military support for as long as it takes – individually and through international cooperation within the G7, NATO, the United Nations and any other forum where Canada can bring its weight to bear.”

Since February 2022, Canada has committed over $8 billion in "wide-ranging" assistance to Ukraine, it said. 

“Canada is providing unprecedented military support, including tanks, air-defence systems and artillery, and continues to develop new assistance measures based on Ukraine’s needs,” according to the joint declaration. 

Trudeau visits an exhibition of destroyed vehicles in Kyiv on Saturday.

Russian strikes kill 3 and injure 26 in Odesa, according to Ukrainian officials

From CNN’s Kostan Nechyporenko

Russia attacked the Odesa region in southern Ukraine in the early hours of Saturday with missiles and drones, according to the Odesa region military administration.

“At night, the enemy attacked Odesa region with Shahed-136/131 attack UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). Air defense forces destroyed all the UAVs. The wreckage of one of the drones hit a 9-storey apartment, causing a fire,” the Odesa region military administration said.

Three people were killed and 26 others, including three children, were injured, according to the Odesa region military administration, adding that three remain in serious condition. 

In addition, the coast of the Odesa region was hit by a missile attack in the early hours of Saturday, the Southern Command’s spokesperson Natalia Humeniuk said, speaking on national TV Saturday.

“Two missiles were destroyed, and one hit (the target). As a result of the flying fragments and blast wave, residential buildings were damaged, and 3 people were injured,” Humeniuk said. 

Russia also attacked the Poltava region with drones and ballistic and cruise missiles, causing “damage to the airfield infrastructure and equipment” at the Myrhorod military airfield, said Dmytro Lunin, head of Poltava region military administration.

Russian-installed official accuses Ukraine of shelling holiday resorts in Russian-occupied Kherson

From CNN’s Niamh Kennedy in London and Kostan Nechyporenko and Denis Lapin in Kyiv 

Vladimir Saldo attends a meeting in Moscow in 2022.

A Russian-installed official in the occupied Kherson region has accused Ukraine of shelling holiday resorts along the south coast. 

In a post on his official Telegram page, Vladimir Saldo, the Russian-backed head of the Kherson regional administration, accused Ukraine of striking “temporary accommodation sites on the Arabit Spit” since Saturday morning local time. 

Saldo accompanied the post with a photo of a yellow building on fire, which CNN has geolocated to be the Chalet Thermal, a coastal resort on the shore of the Sea of Azov. 

According to Saldo, Ukraine also shelled the village of Zalizny. He posted a picture of the “destroyed” Positive Hotel which CNN has also geolocated. 

Saldo accused Ukraine of “targeting Kherson’s top officials." Saldo said one woman has been killed by the shelling. CNN has not independently confirmed this claim. 

Ivan Fedorov, the Ukrainian mayor of the city of Melitopol, also posted a video of the Chalet Thermal on fire on his Telegram account, claiming that Russian officials have fled the area following the shelling. 

“For some reason, the invaders did not like the company, so now convoys of cars with Russians and local collaborators are urgently leaving for the still-occupied Crimea,” Fedorov remarked. 

UK government pledges 150 million pounds to help Ukrainian refugees into their own homes

From CNN's Sophie Tanno

The UK Government has pledged 150 million pounds ($188 million) to help Ukrainian refugees rent their own homes.

The new funding will go to local councils to help Ukrainian families rent private accommodation and find work, a UK government press statement released Saturday said.

“The UK has an honourable tradition of offering shelter to those fleeing the horrors of war,” UK Housing Minister Felicity Buchan said. “Sadly, the fighting in Ukraine shows no sign of ending soon, so we are appealing for more people to become hosts while providing councils with this additional funding to support guests into long-term housing.”

The Homes for Ukraine program saw Ukrainians find a “sponsor” in the UK through friends, charities or even social media, and jointly apply for a visa.

However, issues have arisen for some refugees once they arrived on British soil. The British Red Cross charity warned in March that many Ukrainians are staying in “inappropriate” accommodation.

In June last year, CNN spoke to half a dozen newly-arrived refugees who became homeless in the UK after their relationships with British hosts deteriorated.

The bigger picture: Over 124,000 people fleeing war in Ukraine have found refuge in the UK since the start of Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

Others fled to neighboring countries, including Russia.

Poland has seen the largest influx of refugees since the start of the war, with data from Statista showing 1.6 million Ukrainians had fled to Poland as of May 9.

As of April 2023, over one million refugees from Ukraine were recorded in Germany.

Putin claims Ukraine's counteroffensive has begun, but without success  

From CNN's Uliana Pavlova and Andrew Carey

President Vladimir Putin is seen in July 2022, at the Navy Day Parade in Saint Petersburg.

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed on Friday that the Ukrainian counteroffensive had begun, but without success.

"It can be stated with absolute certainty that the counteroffensive has begun,” Putin said on the sidelines of a conference in Sochi on Friday. He claimed this is “evidenced by the use of strategic reserves.”

“It can be stated that all counteroffensive attempts made so far have failed. But the offensive potential of the Kyiv troops regime still remains,” Putin said in video shared on Telegram.

"The Ukrainian troops have not achieved the tasks assigned to them in any of the main sectors. This is an absolutely obvious thing," he added. Putin also said that the last two days have been “very intense.”

The Russian leader’s comments are the latest in a series of upbeat Russian characterizations of events along the front line between Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk, where Ukrainian forces have stepped up activities since the start of the week. 

Not all Russian reports emerging from the battlefields of Zaporizhzhia region are positive, however.

On Friday morning, Semyon Pegov, who is among the most widely read of Russia’s "military bloggers," reported that Ukraine’s armed forces had made gains south of Orikhiv towards the town of Tokmak in Russian-held territory.

The Ukrainian view: Ukrainian officials have not described their activities as a counteroffensive. Earlier in the week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described “very tough battles.”

CNN cannot independently verify claims from either side about fighting on the ground, but a Ukrainian commander rejected the suggestion Ukraine had begun its big attempt to recapture territory.

Instead, the commander characterized the pushes as “reconnaissance in force” – operations designed to probe the enemy’s defenses for weak spots and to test its combat readiness.

Irrigation issues for southern Ukraine’s agriculture could last for years after dam collapse, minister says

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva

A view shows a flooded area after the Nova Kakhovka dam breached in Kherson on Thursday.

Following the collapse of Ukraine’s Nova Kakhovka dam earlier this week, irrigation will become one of the largest problems for agriculture in southern Ukraine, according to a government minister.

The Kakhovka Canal provided water to more than half a million hectares (over 1.2 million acres) of land, Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Mykola Solskyi said.

“Land that did not have irrigation systems will also suffer, as farmers will no longer have anything to farm. They received their main and stable income from the harvests from fields that had irrigation systems,” he said in a statement on Friday.

The minister said that without irrigation, up to 1.5 million hectares (over 3.7 million acres) of land will not be fully utilized, and it could take up to seven years to restore irrigation.

“The Kakhovka Reservoir was the source of two irrigation and water supply systems: the Kakhovka System and the North Crimean Canal. These systems were built taking into account water levels to minimize the use of electricity for pumps. Now the water level has dropped, so water simply does not reach the systems. To raise it, we need to rebuild the dam. So this is a problem for many years,” he added.

At a media briefing on Friday, Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Agrarian Council Denys Marchuk said Ukraine could see a loss of more than $1.5 billion in grain and oilseeds alone because of the destruction.

The dairy sector could face severe impacts, Marchuk said, also adding there would be issues growing vegetables as they require a sufficient amount of water.

“Since the occupation, we have already lost a large supply of products from Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. When we get these territories back, it will be very difficult to return to growing this crop. In fact, farmers say that if a new hydroelectric power plant is not built and there is no place to take water from, they will not continue this business,” he said.

UN delegation visits areas of Ukrainian-controlled Kherson region to provide flood assistance

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva, Richard Roth and Amy Cassidy

A man moors a boat at a flooded street during an evacuation in Kherson on Friday.

A United Nations convoy met with Ukrainian authorities in Kherson to discuss the provision of further humanitarian assistance, officials said Friday, as the southern region reels from devastating floods caused by the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka dam earlier this week.

“Drinking water, food packages, materials for housing repairs and medicines are being sent to the Bilozerka community and Kherson city,” the Kherson region military administration posted on Telegram .

“The delegation met with Oleksandr Prokudin, Head of the Kherson Regional Military Administration, and representatives of the military administration,” the post continued. “They discussed the needs of the region and the next aid deliveries.”

Speaking in Bilozerka, on the Ukrainian-controlled west bank of the Dnipro River and one of the worst-affected areas, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine Denise Brown warned the number of people suffering will continue to rise past the initial estimates of 17,000 in Ukrainian-controlled areas alone, according to a UN news release.

“The disaster has also impacted people in areas under Russian control, but the UN currently has no access to this part of the country,” the release added. 

Zelensky says there are “a lot of problems” as rescue operation continues after dam collapse 

From CNN's Yulia Kesaieva in Kyiv

President Zelensky delivers his nightly address on Friday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday “there are a lot of problems” as rescue operations in the Kherson and Mykolaiv regions continue following the collapse of a major dam.

Amid reports of intensified fighting in the south of the country, Zelensky said, “for our soldiers, for all those who are in particularly tough battles these days, we see your heroism, and we are grateful to you for every minute of your life.”

The president also thanked the United States for a new security assistance package of support worth more than $2 billion . He said the package will ensure “missiles for the Patriots and other air defense systems, strengthening our defense on the ground, strengthening the strength of all our soldiers.”

Some background: Tuesday's collapse of the Nova Kakhovka is one of Europe's  biggest industrial and ecological disasters  in decades.

The Kakhovka Canal provided water to more than half a million hectares (over 1.2 million acres) of land, and it could take up to seven years to restore irrigation, according to Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Mykola Solskyi.

It is not known whether the collapse was caused by a deliberate attack or a structural failure, but United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres described the destruction as “another devastating consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

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Zelenskyy visits Canada for first time since war started seeking to shore up support for Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks at the National Archives building in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023.(AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks at the National Archives building in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023.(AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

FILE- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, Ukraine, June 10, 2023. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged not let the weekend summit of Group of 20 become overshadowed by Ukraine and has made a point of not inviting Ukraine to participate in this year’s event. Trudeau has promised Zelenskyy to keep Ukraine in the discussions, telling him in a video call that Zelenskyy posted on Instagram, that “I’m disappointed that you won’t be included but as you know, we will be speaking up strongly for you.” (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

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TORONTO (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will address the Canadian Parliament on Friday as he continues his efforts to shore up support from Western allies for Ukraine’s war against the Russian invasion.

Zelenskyy arrived at Ottawa’s airport late Thursday after meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden and lawmakers in Washington, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office said.

Trudeau greeted Zelenskyy and will also to speak in Parliament in Ottawa on Friday.

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.

Zelenskyy and Trudeau are scheduled to go from Ottawa 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.

The Ukrainian president is making the trip after stops at the United Nations and the White House.

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.”

FILE - Canada's Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marc Miller speaks to the media during the federal cabinet retreat in Montreal, Monday, Jan. 22, 2024. Miller said Thursday, March 21, the country will set targets to reduce the number of new temporary residents in the country.(Christinne Muschi/The Canadian Press via AP)

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.

ukraine pm visit to canada

ukraine pm visit to canada

Ukraine PM to visit Canada seeking ammunition, armoured vehicles ahead of counteroffensive

This article was published more than 6 months ago. Some information may no longer be current.

ukraine pm visit to canada

Ukrainian servicemen ride on Dutch YPR-765 armoured personnel carrier on a road near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, on April 6. GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Getty Images

Ukraine’s Prime Minister is planning to come to Canada to seek ammunition and heavily armoured vehicles as Kyiv prepares for a spring-summer counteroffensive against Russian forces.

Denys Shmyhal said in an interview that the Ukrainian government would also like the Canadian government to offer war risk insurance to Canadian companies investing in Ukraine as part of an effort to support rebuilding and foreign investment there.

The Canadian government’s 2023 budget , unveiled in March, offered a new $2.4-billion loan for Ukraine but little in the way of additional military aid. In the past 12 months, however, Ottawa has provided more than $1-billion in military gear to Kyiv.

Mr. Shmyhal is visiting Canada in the coming weeks but for security reasons the Ukrainian government is not divulging the date of the trip.

He said he’s not concerned about the lack of new military aid allocated for Ukraine in the federal budget and remains hopeful that Canada will provide more military aid anyway, among other forms of assistance.

“Now, we need heavy armoured vehicles. And we need more artillery shells: ammunition for howitzers and ammunition for tanks,” he said in an interview Thursday.

“It’s crucially important for the organization of our counteroffensive.”

Ukraine is planning a spring-summer counteroffensive, equipped with weapons from dozens of foreign countries, that it hopes will demonstrate it can continue taking back territory from Russian invaders.

Ukraine beat back Russian forces from Kyiv last year before liberating swaths of the northeast and of the southern Kherson region. But Russian forces still occupy tracts of the east, the strategically important south and the Crimean peninsula.

Mr. Shmyhal said Ukraine needs countries such as Canada to help pave the way for more foreign investment – and that includes special insurance to reduce the financial risk of operating in a war zone.

“We will need additional support in war risk insurance because no investors will come to Ukraine if the governments of our partners will not support, and will not insure [against] war risks in Ukraine.”

He said he will be talking to Canada about what Ottawa might do.

“So if a Canadian company will decide to invest money into Ukraine, we will ask the Canadian government to create some mechanism to support Canadian investments.”

The Ukrainian Prime Minister praised Canada’s assistance since Russia launched its full-scale military assaults on Ukraine last February. “We have perfect relations between Ukraine and Canada,” he said and thanked Ottawa for the more than $5.4-billion in aid it has received from the Canadian government since the conflict began.

Mr. Shmyhal said his visit will include signing co-operation agreements with a Canadian company in the nuclear industry – he did not provide more details – and noted that Kyiv has already signed deals with foreign firms including some from Canada.

He said Ukraine is seeking Canada’s support for the Kyiv Security Compact – a proposal for security guarantees from allies drafted by a group including former NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen – as well as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s 10-point peace formula. Mr. Zelensky’s plan includes the withdrawal of Russian troops from all of Ukraine, a special tribunal to prosecute Russian war crimes and measures to guarantee nuclear safety.

Mr. Shmyhal sought to assure Canadians that Ukraine has made important strides in combatting corruption, as it undertakes reforms required of countries seeking to join the European Union – and as it seeks to assure foreign allies that their donations are being used properly. In January, the Ukrainian government fired a number of senior officials in a major political shake-up.

The country ranked 116th out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s most recent Corruption Perceptions Index, the result of weak state institutions that came under the control of well-connected people after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But the latest ranking announced in 2023 said Ukraine had gained one point to improve its score to 33 points.

“I hope that for Canadian officials and Canadian people, it also will be important that despite the war, Ukraine has a great will to realize all the reforms and to be a European, civilized country with all European standards, rules and most importantly values,” Mr. Shmyhal said, adding, “We wouldn’t like to be part of the [former] Soviet Union or the Russian Empire.”

Ukraine will require an estimated US$411-billion for reconstruction and recovery in a recent joint assessment released by the Government of Ukraine, the World Bank Group and the European Commission.

Mr. Shmyhal said Ukraine is keen on developing its agricultural processing, energy and high-tech military goods sectors after the war and he said it hopes for “special attention” from Canadian companies.

With a report from Reuters

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Biden Unites With an Unlikely Ally to Champion Ukraine

In a visit to the White House by Italy’s far-right prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, the president declared that “we have each other’s backs” and “we also have Ukraine’s back.”

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Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni of Italy and President Biden sitting in armchairs, with a lighted fireplace behind them, in the Oval Office.

By Zolan Kanno-Youngs

Reporting from Washington

President Biden turned to an unlikely ally on Friday in his drive to build support for Ukraine’s war effort as U.S. aid falters, declaring during a White House visit by the far-right prime minister of Italy that the two leaders “have each other’s backs” and “have Ukraine’s back.”

The warm tone, a striking departure from Mr. Biden’s assessment of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni when she was elected, extended to a number of foreign policy fronts, as the leaders sought to portray themselves as united on topics including confronting global migration and trying to prevent a broader war in the Middle East.

“As you said when we first met here in the Oval, Giorgia, that we have each other’s backs,” Mr. Biden said. “We do, and you’ve demonstrated that from the moment you took office.”

But Mr. Biden highlighted their unity on Kyiv’s efforts to fend off an invasion by President Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia, creating a contrast with conservatives in Congress. “We also have Ukraine’s back,” Mr. Biden said. “That’s why I’m urging the House of Representatives to pass legislation” that would send billions of dollars to fund the war effort.

The meeting intensified an all-out assault by Mr. Biden to push stalled military aid for Ukraine through a reluctant Congress. He convened a meeting this week at which he sought to push Speaker Mike Johnson to allow a vote on aid. He has warned that the divisions over aid are a gift to Russia. And he has used meetings with European officials this year not only to ensure a united front against Russia’s invasion but also to pressure Congress.

In Ms. Meloni, Mr. Biden has found a surprisingly kindred spirit.

The Italian prime minister said on Friday that as the chairwoman of the Group of 7 nations, she was focused on “defending freedom and building peace for Ukraine.”

After being elected in 2022, Ms. Meloni has steered away from the most Russia-friendly elements of her coalition, and Italy recently agreed to sign a security agreement with Ukraine to help Kyiv’s defense industry.

Mr. Biden’s embrace of Ms. Meloni has come as a surprise after he expressed concern for democracy when she rose to power. Her party, the Brothers of Italy, has roots in the neo-fascist factions that emerged after World War II. She drew comparisons to former President Donald J. Trump after addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference in the United States in 2022.

“She hails from Europe’s far right, and her coalition contains influential voices that are much more pro-Russian and sympathetic to Putin than the European mainstream, yet she has bucked that trend and located Italy firmly in the trans-Atlantic camp that is committed to supporting Ukraine,” said Charles A. Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a Europe adviser on the National Security Council in the Obama administration.

While she has advanced other far-right causes, such as anti-L.G.B.T.Q. policies, in Italy, Mr. Biden has seemed content to set those moves aside to secure an ally on critical foreign policy matters.

Ms. Meloni also could benefit from the global spotlight that comes with a visit to the Oval Office, Mr. Kupchan said, especially as she seeks to convince her own constituents of the importance of defending Ukraine.

“The domestic debate in Italy is, I would say, more skeptical of aid to Ukraine than in most other countries,” Mr. Kupchan said.

Ms. Meloni also stressed the need to discuss strategies to combat human trafficking driving global migration, particularly from North Africa. Mr. Biden too has recently made combating illegal migration a central focus of his administration. Just the day before his meeting with Ms. Meloni, he traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border to push Congress to enact sweeping changes there.

Zolan Kanno-Youngs is a White House correspondent, covering President Biden and his administration. More about Zolan Kanno-Youngs

Our Coverage of the War in Ukraine

News and Analysis

Russian missiles streaked into Kyiv  in the biggest assault on the Ukrainian capital in weeks, injuring several people and damaging several buildings.

Jake Sullivan, President Biden’s top national security official, made a secret trip to Kyiv to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky and reaffirm the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine.

Under pressure to come up with billions of dollars to support Ukraine’s military, the E.U. said that it had devised a legal way to use frozen Russian assets  to help arm Ukraine.

Symbolism or Strategy?: Ukrainians say that defending places with little strategic value is worth the cost in casualties and weapons , because the attacking Russians pay an even higher price. American officials aren’t so sure.

Elaborate Tales: As the Ukraine war grinds on, the Kremlin has created increasingly complex fabrications online  to discredit Ukraine’s leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, and undermine the country’s support in the West.

Targeting Russia’s Oil Industry: With its army short of ammunition and troops to break the deadlock on the battlefield, Kyiv has increasingly taken the fight beyond the Ukrainian border, attacking oil infrastructure deep in Russian territory .

How We Verify Our Reporting

Our team of visual journalists analyzes satellite images, photographs , videos and radio transmissions  to independently confirm troop movements and other details.

We monitor and authenticate reports on social media, corroborating these with eyewitness accounts and interviews. Read more about our reporting efforts .

Russia hits Ukraine's port of Odesa during Zelenskiy and Greek PM visit

Greek PM Mitsotakis visits Ukraine

  • Ukrainian president, Greek PM arrive in Odesa
  • Russia hits port infrastructure during leaders visit
  • Sources: leaders up to 800 metre from the strike site
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Aftermath of a Russian missile attack in Kyiv

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Exiled Catalan separatist Carles Puigdemont will seek to lead the northeastern region in elections in May, he said on Thursday, even though he would risk arrest if he returns to Spain.

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Senate passes updated Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement without support of Tories

Conservatives withold support for trade deal over reference to carbon pricing.

Two people shake hands in front of a red and white Canadian flag and a blue and yellow Ukrainian flag.

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The Senate has passed a bill to implement Canada's updated free trade agreement with Ukraine, paving the way for it to become law.

It passed without the support of a single Conservative senator, in line with how Tory Leader Pierre Poilievre and the rest of his MPs voted in the House of Commons.

Conservatives say they voted against the bill because the trade deal says the two countries, which both have a carbon price in place, will promote carbon pricing.

  • Conservatives would renegotiate free-trade deal with Ukraine, says MP James Bezan
  • Analysis The political tides of war are shifting — and may be taking Ukraine with them

Longtime Manitoba MP James Bezan has said a future Conservative government would renegotiate the deal so it contains no reference to carbon pricing.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly accused the Conservatives of abandoning Ukraine and following in the footsteps of some U.S. Republicans, who have tried blocking aid to Ukraine.

Trade Minister Mary Ng has said the updated agreement is necessary to help Ukraine rebuild from the war it has been fighting since Russia's full-scale invasion began in February 2022.

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The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, met with the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyhal, today, where he reiterated Canada’s solidarity with and support for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia’s brutal, full-scale invasion.

During the visit, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that Canada will provide additional military aid to Ukraine sourced from Colt Canada.

Prime Minister Trudeau also announced Canada has disbursed a $2.4 billion loan to the Government of Ukraine to support essential services, such as pension payments, purchasing fuel, and restoring damaged energy infrastructure. This funding, announced in Budget 2023, brings Canada’s total commitment to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s illegal full-scale invasion to over $8 billion.  

During the visit, the leaders focused on efforts to rebuild Ukraine, including by hosting Canadian business leaders to discuss opportunities for Canadian trade and investment in Ukraine, particularly the essential role that private sector investment will play in Ukraine’s long-term reconstruction.

To strengthen our trade ties and help support Ukraine’s economic recovery, Prime Minister Trudeau and Prime Minister Shmyhal signed a joint declaration on the conclusion of negotiations for the modernization of the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA), and underscored the need to complete the processes to implement it as quickly as possible. A modernized CUFTA supports long-term security, stability, and economic development in Ukraine, as well as the creation of good middle-class jobs here in Canada.

Canada and Ukraine signed a bilateral Youth Mobility Agreement, which young people from both countries will benefit from when travel to Ukraine becomes safe. The Agreement further deepens the strong bonds between our peoples and our two countries. It will open up new opportunities for youth to work and travel, including opportunities for Canadian youth to help rebuild Ukraine once Russia withdraws its forces from the country.

To maintain the pressure on the Russian regime, Prime Minister Trudeau announced new sanctions targeting 14 Russian individuals and 34 entities complicit in Russia’s war in Ukraine, including several security targets linked to the Wagner Group and Russia’s aviation sector. In addition, to further pressure Putin’s enablers in Belarus, the Prime Minister announced additional sanctions on nine entities related to the Belarusian financial sector.

During Prime Minister Shmyhal’s time in Canada, Saskatoon-based Cameco and Ukraine’s state-owned Energoatom signed a major supply contract in which Cameco will provide the necessary uranium to meet Ukraine’s nuclear fuel needs until 2035. This supply contract, which builds on the partnership agreement signed earlier this year, will help Ukraine keep the lights on, while creating and supporting good, middle-class jobs here in Canada.

Prime Minister Trudeau reiterated to Prime Minister Shmyhal that Canada will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.

“Canada remains steadfast in our support for Ukraine and to helping Ukrainians defend their sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence. I am incredibly happy to welcome Prime Minister Shmyhal to Canada and to work directly with him to keep doing everything we can to support Ukrainians, deepen our ties, promote our shared vision of a peaceful and secure future, and create economic opportunities for people in both our countries.” The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Quick Facts

  • The Prime Minister was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly, and Minister of National Defence, Anita Anand.
  • Since Russia’s illegal occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea in 2014, Canada has imposed sanctions on more than 2,400 individuals and entities in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Many of these sanctions have been undertaken in coordination with Canada’s allies and partners.
  • Since January 2022, Canada has committed more than $8 billion in funding for financial, military, humanitarian, development, and immigration assistance to Ukraine.
  • Over $5 billion in financial assistance;
  • Over $1 billion in military support;
  • $352.5 million in humanitarian assistance;
  • $127 million in development assistance; and
  • Over $102 million in security and stabilization assistance.
  • The new military assistance package includes 21,000 5.56mm assault rifles, 38 7.62mm machine guns, and over 2.4 million rounds of ammunition to support these weapons as well as small arms already in use by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This donation comes from the remaining funds across the Government of Canada’s various funding envelopes for military assistance to Ukraine.
  • Canadian Armed Forces members are supporting the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the United Kingdom and Poland under Operation UNIFIER, providing training on a range of military skills. Between 2015 and 2023, Canada trained more than 36,000 members of Ukraine’s security forces as part of Operation UNIFIER.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces have been and will continue to assist with the delivery of military aid for Ukraine from Canada and on behalf of our allies and partners, having already transported over eight million pounds of donated military equipment since March 2022.
  • Since February 2022, Canada has committed over $1 billion in military assistance to Ukraine. Commitments to date include eight Leopard 2 main battle tanks, one armoured recovery vehicle, a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) with associated munitions, 39 armoured combat support vehicles, anti-tank weapons, small arms, M777 howitzers and associated ammunition, high-resolution drone cameras, winter clothing, and more.
  • Canada is helping Ukrainian families find a safe, temporary home in our country, and has put in place support services to help them after they arrive. This includes temporary financial assistance and access to federally funded settlement services, such as language training and employment-related services. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion, Canada has welcomed more than 139,000 Ukrainians.
  • In 2022, total bilateral trade between Canada and Ukraine was valued at $421.6 million, a slight decrease from $447.3 million in 2021 largely due to the Russian invasion. In 2022, Canada’s merchandise exports to Ukraine totalled $150.2 million, and merchandise imports from Ukraine totalled $271.3 million. 

Associated Links

  • Canada’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine
  • Sanctions – Russian invasion of Ukraine
  • Canadian donations and military support to Ukraine
  • Canada’s engagement in Ukraine
  • Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement (CUFTA)
  • Joint Declaration on Conclusion of Negotiations for the Modernization of the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement

Russia keeps threatening world leaders when they go to Ukraine. What happens if someone gets hurt?

  • A Russian missile landed near the Greek prime minister during a visit to Ukraine last week.
  • It's not an isolated event — several visiting NATO leaders have been threatened by air attacks.
  • Experts told BI that the incidents reflect Russia's willingness to provoke Ukraine's allies.

Insider Today

Last week, Russia launched a deadly missile strike on the Ukrainian city of Odesa just as Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was visiting its port.

"We heard the sound of sirens and explosions that took place near us," Mitsotakis said, per The Guardian , adding that there wasn't time to reach a shelter.

But, he wrote on X: "We shall not be intimidated."

Many details are still emerging about the incident, but sources told Reuters that the strike hit less than half a mile from Mitsotakis.

It incited international outrage, and was far from an isolated incident.

In the two years since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion, allied dignitaries visiting Ukraine have been harried by strikes — and in one case, a drone — in the cities they've visited.

Air raid sirens went off during President Joe Biden's visit to Kyiv in February last year.

Russian strikes also cast a shadow over the visits of top EU diplomat Josep Borrell , UN Secretary-General António Guterres , as well as German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier .

Many of these strikes killed Ukrainian civilians, which has become part of Putin's modus operandi in the war.

As such, it's unclear whether all of these incidents point to a single strategy — or are, indeed, intentional, said Cristian Nitoiou, a senior lecturer in diplomacy and international governance at the UK's Loughborough University.

"Definitely, I think Russia has been trying to be quite aggressive and intimidate Western leaders," he told Business Insider.

However, he said he doubts that there is a plan "to actually kill or specifically target a key policymaker from the European Union or from the United States."

Even so, there's clear menace involved.

In February, a Russian drone ominously tailed German Defense Minister Annalena Baerbock in the southern city of Mykolaiv, sending her and her retinue scurrying away. Russia frequently uses drones to help target artillery strikes.

Both Nitoiou and Rafael Loss, a policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told BI that events like this will have set off intense diplomatic discussions with Moscow.

Related stories

Incidents like these also signal that Russia is far more willing to escalate matters in Ukraine than Ukraine's allies are, Loss said.

What happens if someone gets hit?

Imagine, for a second, that one of these world leaders was actually hit.

NATO's principle of collective defense — Article 5 — doesn't apply to armed attacks in this scenario as they would not be in NATO space , Loss told BI.

But it could trigger Article 4, where NATO states consult each other on what to do in response.

"And out of that could emerge some kind of diplomatic, political, economic, or even military response," Loss said.

How an affected country reacts may depend on how hawkish it is toward Russia, Nitoiou added.

Countries like Poland and the Baltic states — which have long been wary of their larger neighbor and are vocal about the possibility of a larger conflict — are more likely to escalate with unilateral action, he said.

But the most likely scenario is that none of Ukraine's allies would opt for a military escalation, he said.

Russia is 'greasing' a slippery slope

Russia is testing NATO's attitude to risk, Loss told BI, and the incidents involving leaders visiting Ukraine can be read as part of a much wider strategy of provocations.

"Any conflict crisis can be described as a sort of slippery slope towards escalation, but I think over the past two years we've seen that Russia is sort of deliberately greasing the slope in many ways," he said.

He pointed to when a Russian missile was deemed to have entered NATO airspace by passing over Poland in late December.

In March last year, a Russian fighter jet also clipped a US Reaper drone over the Black Sea and caused it to crash.

Actions like this aim to manipulate Ukrainian allies' attitude to risk, stalling them from helping over fears that it would prompt an escalation, Loss argued.

"Russia is trying to shape this by creating these kinds of risks and uncertainties very much in the minds of Western policymakers," he said.

Loss believes that French President Emmanuel Macron's recent suggestion that NATO troops could be deployed to Ukraine — albeit in a nonlethal capacity — is a way of pushing back on this.

It would be a way to make Putin think more about potential escalations if French soldiers were killed, he said.

As it is, Russia seems "very comfortable" raising the stakes while Western countries continue to urge restraint, Loss said.

Incidents like the one with the Greek prime minister last week "certainly point to a growing confidence on the Russian side that there's not going to be any consequences for these kinds of activities," he added.

Watch: VIDEO: Missiles hit Ukraine as Russia launches 'full-scale invasion'

ukraine pm visit to canada

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Russia-Ukraine war: 900 Russian bombs launched at Ukraine in March, Zelenskiy says – as it happened

Russia attacking Ukraine with drones, guided bombs and missiles, says president; Kaja Kallas says spending should rise to over 3% GDP

  • 2d ago Closing summary
  • 2d ago Kyiv hopes to have enough battlefield ammunition for its soldiers by April - PM
  • 2d ago Estonian PM urges Nato allies to increase defence spending to over 3% of GDP
  • 2d ago Zelenskiy: Russia has launched almost 900 guided bombs in attacks on Ukraine in March
  • 2d ago Russia plans to defend oil and gas facilities with missile systems
  • 2d ago Summary of the day so far...
  • 2d ago EU's foreign policy chief wants to use 90% of frozen Russian assets revenues to buy arms for Ukraine
  • 2d ago Russia reportedly appoints acting navy chief after Ukraine’s attacks on Black Sea fleet
  • 2d ago Belgorod: Thousands of children to be evacuated from Russian border city due to Ukrainian shelling - governor
  • 2d ago Putin to visit China in May for talks with Xi Jinping - report
  • 2d ago Opening summary

A Russian Defense Ministry photo showing a military vehicle firing at Ukrainian troops.

Zelenskiy: Russia has launched almost 900 guided bombs in attacks on Ukraine in March

Russia has launched 130 missiles of various types, more than 320 Shahed attack drones and almost 900 guided bombs in attacks on Ukraine so far this month, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy , said on Tuesday.

Russia and Ukraine have increased aerial attacks as Moscow’s troops advance on the frontlines and Kyiv faces a shortage of manpower and weapons.

In March, Russia concentrated airstrikes on Odesa, targeting the Black Sea port city and region almost every day, according to Reuters. Two ballistic missiles reportedly killed 2 people and injured over 70 others in one attack last week.

Closing summary

Ukraine hopes to have enough ammunition for its troops to repel Russian aggression starting from April, amid a Czech-led initiative to source shells for supply, Ukraine’s prime minister, Denys Shmyhal , said on Tuesday .

Estonia’s prime minister, Kaja Kallas , called on Nato allies to increase their defence spending to over 3% of gross domestic product (GDP), saying her country is already investing more than 3% of its GDP in defence and that all Nato allies should follow suit.

Russia has launched 130 missiles of various types, more than 320 Shahed attack drones and almost 900 guided bombs in attacks on Ukraine so far this month, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy , said .

A Russian energy ministry official earlier revealed plans to defend oil and gas facilities with missile systems. “We are jointly working, including with colleagues from the Russian National Guard, to cover objects, on installing, accordingly, protection systems such as Pantsir,” Artyom Verkhov, director of energy ministry’s department for gas industry development, told a parliament meeting .

The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell , said he will propose that the EU uses 90% of the revenues from Russian assets frozen in Europe to buy arms for Ukraine via the European Peace Facility fund . Borrell told reporters in Brussels he would propose that the remaining 10% be transferred to the EU budget to be used to boost the capacity of the Ukrainian defence industry. He said he would submit the proposal to EU member states on Wednesday, ahead of a summit of EU leaders on Thursday and Friday.

Yulia Navalnaya , the widow of the late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny , said that Vladimir Putin was not the legitimate president of Russia and that the official results of the election had no meaning. “We proved to ourselves and others that Putin is not our president. We did not elect him,” Navalnaya said of the “noon against Putin” protests held on the last day of the presidential election on Sunday.

Russia appointed Adm Alexander Moiseyev as acting navy chief, replacing Nikolai Yevmenov , according to the state RIA news agency, which confirmed earlier reports of the reshuffle .

About 9,000 children will be evacuated from the Russian border city of Belgorod and from several districts in the wider region of the same name due to Ukrainian shelling, Vyacheslav Gladkov , the regional governor, said earlier today . The first group of 1,200 children will be evacuated on 22 March, Gladkov said.

Vladimir Putin will travel to China in May for talks with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping , in what could be the Russian president’s first overseas trip of his new presidential term, sources told Reuters . “Putin will visit China,” one of the sources, said. The details were independently confirmed to Reuters by four other sources, who also spoke on condition of anonymity. Putin’s trip to China is thought likely to take place in the second half of May, according to one source.

This blog is closing now but you can read all our Ukraine coverage here .

The UK’s prime minister, Rishi Sunak , will host European leaders at Blenheim Palace in July.

Sunak said the European Political Community summit on 18 July would offer the chance to discuss issues including support for Ukraine and “stopping the scourge of people smuggling”.

I am delighted that the UK will host the next European Political Community meeting at the historic Blenheim Palace. It is an important forum for cooperation across the whole of Europe on the issues that are affecting us all, threatening our security and prosperity. From putting our full support behind Ukraine to stopping the scourge of people smuggling and illegal migration, under the UK’s leadership the meeting will bring together our European friends, partners, and neighbours to address our shared challenges.
A date is finally announced. UK PM will host leaders from across Europe at the European Political Community meeting on 18 July.  Gathering to bring together around 50 leaders from across the region to discuss shared challenges such as Ukraine and illegal migration. The… — Patrick Wintour (@patrickwintour) March 19, 2024

Ukraine is working to secure “a strong and far-reaching step” towards membership of Nato at the military alliance’s Washington summit in July, Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba , has said. “We think that Ukraine meets the main criteria of membership, which is the capacity to defend Nato borders. That’s what we are doing by defending Ukraine,” he told reporters.

“ … Let me say this, we are working hard to make a strong and far-reaching step towards Ukrainian membership in Nato at the Washington summit.”

Ukraine’s leadership was left bitterly disappointed when, under US and German pressure, Nato at its summit last year issued a statement saying Ukraine would be offered an invitation when conditions allowed, effectively rejecting Ukraine’s request to be given a specific date.

Kyiv hopes to have enough battlefield ammunition for its soldiers by April - PM

Ukraine hopes to have enough ammunition for its soldiers, who face shell shortages , to repel Russian forces from April, Ukraine’s prime minister, Denys Shmyhal , has said.

Prague located 800,000 artillery rounds in third countries earlier this year to supply to Ukraine and says it raised funds from allies to buy a first batch of 300,000.

A senior Czech official said the first deliveries were expected by June at the latest.

“We hope that this Czech initiative, which Luxembourg joined, will help us, and beginning since (from) April we will have enough ammunition to deter our frontline,” Shmyhal told a news conference on a visit to Luxembourg.

“We also count on the supplying of long-range and middle-range missiles to cut Russian logistics on the occupied territories. It is also crucially important, (just) as the artillery shells are for us,” Shmyhal added.

Nato’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said earlier this month that Ukraine was running out of ammunition in its war against Russia’s invasion and that the allies were not doing enough to help Kyiv. It comes as a bill in the US Congress to send further aid to Ukraine stalls amid partisan debate .

A Ukrainian soldier walks in position on the frontline near Klishchyivka, Donetsk region.

Russia plans to defend oil and gas facilities with missile systems

A Russian energy ministry official has revealed plans to defend oil and gas facilities with missile systems after Kyiv concentrated fire on Russian refineries and energy facilities in recent months.

“We are jointly working, including with colleagues from the Russian National Guard, to cover objects, on installing, accordingly, protection systems such as Pantsir,” Artyom Verkhov, director of energy ministry’s department for gas industry development, told a parliament meeting on Tuesday.

Ukraine has increased attacks on Russian oil infrastructure since January, hitting numerous large oil refineries in an attempt to cripple Russia’s military and halt its army’s advances.

Russian oil refining capacity shut down in the wake of Ukrainian drone attacks in the first quarter amounts to about 4.6m tonnes (370,500 barrels a day), or 7% of the total, Reuters calculations show.

Summary of the day so far...

Russian attacks against Ukraine have killed four people and injured six others over the past day, damaging homes and civilian infrastructure, regional officials reported on Tuesday. Russia reportedly targeted nine Ukrainian regions – Dnipropetrovsk , Sumy , Mykolaiv , Luhansk , Zaporizhzhia , Chernihiv , Kherson , Kharkiv , and Donetsk , with the casualties being killed in the latter three areas.

Here are some of the latest images coming out from the newswires:

Germany’s defence minister, Boris Pistorius (L), speaks with US defence secretary, Lloyd Austin (R), at Ramstein airbase.

A group of EU countries, including Germany, has pushed for a green light to start membership negotiations with Bosnia , AFP reports.

The EU’s 27 leaders will debate at a summit on Thursday a proposal from the bloc’s executive to launch the talks with the Balkan country. All member states will have to agree to the move before negotiations can begin.

“We have seen clear progress towards reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina over the past few months and we should honour that as well,” Germany’s European affairs minister, Anna Luhrmann , said at a pre-summit meeting in Brussels.

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has reinvigorated the EU’s drive to enlarge in eastern and central Europe, with its current member states agreeing in December to start talks on joining with Ukraine and Moldova .

Bosnia has been an official candidate for membership since 2022 but needed to implement a string of major reforms before getting the green light on negotiations to join the EU.

The European Commission last week recommended beginning talks with Bosnia, with the executive’s head Ursula von der Leyen saying the country had made “impressive steps”.

The push to move Bosnia closer to the bloc is backed by a string of countries including Austria, Italy, and Greece. But some – including France, the Netherlands and Denmark – appear more sceptical.

France’s Europe minister, Jean-Noel Barrot, said Paris viewed Bosnia’s efforts since becoming a candidate as “too limited”. “We must continue to encourage the Bosnian leaders to make efforts to achieve the objectives that have been set,” he said at the Brussels meeting.

Russia’s defence ministry said it had carried out pre-emptive strikes against two groups of Ukrainian saboteurs near the border with Belgorod and Kursk regions.

In both cases, the saboteur groups were destroyed, the defence ministry said. This claim has not yet been independently verified.

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