Canadian PM Trudeau visits Ukraine for Zelensky meeting

The Canadian leader visited Irpin, near Kyiv on Sunday

Sunday 08 May 2022 21:40 BST
<p> Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walking with mayor Oleksandr Markushyn, right, in Irpin, Ukraine</p>

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walking with mayor Oleksandr Markushyn, right, in Irpin, Ukraine

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Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has arrived in Ukraine to meet the country’s president Volodymyr Zelensky.

Mr Trudeau visited Irpin, near Kyiv, on Sunday “to see with his own eyes all the horror which Russian occupiers have caused,” according to a social media post by the town’s mayor on Sunday.

The Canadian PM’s spokesperson confirmed he was in Ukraine to meet Mr Zelensky.

US first lady Jill Biden also made an unannounced trip to western Ukraine on Sunday, holding a surprise Mother's Day meeting with first lady Olena Zelenska as Russia presses its punishing war in the eastern regions.

"I've just had an honor to meet with the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, who came to Irpin to see with his own eyes all the horror which Russian occupiers have caused to our town," Oleksandr Markushyn said on his Telegram channel.

He posted a picture showing Mr Trudeau standing on a street with destroyed and burned apartment buildings in the background.

An image provided by Irpin Mayor Office also shows the Canadian prime minister walking with mayor Oleksandr Markushyn, right, in Irpin, which has been severely damaged by Russian attack since the start of the invasion.

Justin Trudeau is the latest western leader to make the visit to Ukraine after Boris Johnson also made a surprise visit to Kyiv last month in a show of solidarity in the nation’s fight against Russian invasion.

Canadian officials said the prime minister would meet with Mr Zelensky and "reaffirm Canada's unwavering support for the Ukrainian people."

Mr Zelensky also met Sunday with the German parliament speaker, Barbel Bas, in Kyiv to discuss further defense assistance as well as sanctions against Russia, according to the Ukranian president's press office.

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres also visited Ukraine at the end of April, in a trip which was marred by a “shocking” Russian missile attack. Mr Guterres said that the “horrific scenario demonstrates something that is unfortunately, always true: civilians always pay the highest price”.

Canada has been in lock-step with other western nations imposing sanctions on Russia since it began its “special military operation” on 24 February. Canada, a Nato member has also underlined over $500 million (£405 million) in military aid to Ukraine in its 2022 budget with additional support assisting humanitarian missions in Ukraine and Poland.

G7 leaders, including Canada, are expected to meet on Sunday ahead of Russia’s Victory Day to discuss the response to Russia’s war in Ukraine and potential additional sanctions on Moscow.

The international community is closely watching Russia’s actions on Victory Day, 9 May holiday marking the country’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. Some have speculated that Russian president Vladimir Putin could use the day to formally declare war on Ukraine; Putin has previously referred to the war only as a “special military operation.”

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