Canadian government to announce $650 million in military assistance for Ukraine
Senior Digital Parliamentary Reporter
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska are in Canada, and have a full day of events ahead of them, in Ottawa and Toronto.
On Friday, the marquee event will be Zelenskyy's address to a joint session of Parliament at 1 p.m. ET.
Prior to, and following his address, Zelenskyy and the first lady are making a series of stops alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of cabinet.
Today's address will be an opportunity for the Ukrainian leader to make his case for the need for continued support in the face of Russia's now 19-month invasion, directly to the Canadian public.
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.
CTV News 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(opens in a new tab). Canada will also be applying new sanctions against Russia.
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.
CTVNews.ca is providing up-to-the-minute updates on Zelenskyy's visit. Follow along below for more throughout the day.
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.
11:45 a.m.: Zelenskyy was to partake 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."
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.
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.
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(opens in a new tab), 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.
10:04 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.
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."