Zelensky’s appeal to Canada: imagine if Toronto were Kyiv.

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Zelensky’s appeal to Canada: imagine if Toronto were Kyiv.

OTTAWA — In an emotional address to Canada’s parliament on Tuesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky urged his members to support his call for a no-fly zone on Ukraine, telling them to imagine attacking cities like Vancouver or Toronto. and called for intensifying sanctions. The face of Russian aggression.

Mr. Zelensky called the invasion of Ukraine a war to “destroy” his country. Repeatedly addressing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as “Justin”, he asked Mr Trudeau to imagine the siege of Vancouver, Toronto’s famous CN Tower being hit by Russian bombs. , asked to imagine children being killed and kindergartens bombed.

“This is our reality,” he said.

Mr Zelensky called on Canada and the world to do more to help defend Ukraine.

“We’ve been friends with you, Justin,” he said. “But I would also like you to understand – and I would like you to feel – what we feel every day. We want to live, and we want to be victorious.”

The Canadian parliament’s appeal followed a speech by Mr Zelensky to British parliament last week, during which he invoked Shakespeare and echoed Winston Churchill’s famous wartime words without surrender. It outlined how the Ukrainian president, a former actor and comedian, sought to strengthen global public opinion against Russian aggression by projecting himself as a spokesman for liberal democracy and a violent threat to the global order. are demanding.

Mr. Zelensky reiterated his call to countries to help close down their airspace to protect Ukraine from Russian bombing. And he called on Canada’s large Ukrainian diaspora – at 1.4 million people, the largest in the world – to rally behind their country of origin.

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He was met with standing ovations, long applause, and shouts of support by members of the Canadian Senate and House of Commons.

“In Canada we like to root for the downtrodden,” Trudeau told the House of Commons ahead of Zelensky’s appearance, calling the Ukrainian leader a “hero of democracy”.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been met with a particularly visceral feeling in Canada, because of its large number of people of Ukrainian descent. These include the Deputy Prime Minister of the country. christia freelandWhose mother was Ukrainian-Canadian.

Speaking after Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, Ms. Freeland, who studied briefly in Ukraine in the late 1980s, said that President Vladimir V. Putin had “condemned the ranks of European dictators”. who caused such genocide in the 20th century.”

“The terrible human cost of this brutal invasion is the direct and personal responsibility of Vladimir Putin,” she said in a speech with Russian and Ukrainian “for my own Ukrainian-Canadian community,” she added, “let me say this: now It’s time for us to be strong as we support our friends and family in Ukraine.

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Under the leadership of Trudeau and Freeland, who speak Ukrainian with their children at home, Canada has taken a tough stand against Russia. In late February, it unveiled financial sanctions against 62 Russian individuals and entities, including members of the Russian elite, and halted all export permits.

Last week, Mr Trudeau expanded those measures by adding five more people to the list, among them oligarch Roman Abramovich, who was recently added to British sanctions. On Tuesday, Mr Trudeau said the measures had been further expanded to include 15 more Russians.

Canada has sent military equipment to Ukraine, including aerial camera systems to monitor the movements of Russian troops and humanitarian aid. From 2015 until the Russian invasion, about 200 members of the Canadian military were training their armed forces in Ukraine.

Amid concerns of a new European refugee crisis as Ukrainians flee the country, Mr Trudeau has also said Canada will prioritize immigration applications for Ukrainians and lift limits on visas.

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