(Bloomberg) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled hundreds of millions in new assistance for Ukraine on Friday, affirming Canada’s support for the country during a warm visit with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at a time of wavering from some other allies.
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Canada pledged C$650 million ($482 million) over three years to supply Ukraine with 50 armored vehicles, including medical evacuation vehicles, to be built in Ontario. It will also launch a working group to advise on Russian asset seizures, including central bank assets.
Canada outlined details of other aid during Zelenskiy’s visit, which followed a US trip that was marked by division among lawmakers about the scale of assistance needed. It also came after Ukraine and Poland got into a public dispute over grain shipments.
“Ukraine and Canada are the same. We stand and we fight for life,” Zelenskiy said in a speech to parliament, which featured multiple standing ovations from lawmakers of all political parties. “Ukraine, not genocide, will be victorious in this war.”
In Canada, home to a large Ukrainian diaspora, there is much agreement on assistance for the war effort. When debate occurs, it tends to focus on whether Canada can offer enough help, given its relatively small military. Trudeau has not provided a plan to increase total defense spending to 2% of gross domestic product, as agreed by North Atlantic Treaty Organization members.
Still, Trudeau’s government has promised some C$9 billion ($6.7 billion) in financial and military help for Ukraine. It has also sanctioned about 2,700 people and entities connected to Russia’s war — adding more than 60 to that list on Friday — and welcomed 175,000 Ukrainian migrants since the war began, according to the government.
Read More in Our Newsletter: Zelenskiy at White House But Aid in Limbo: Washington Edition
Canada plans to spend about C$76 million on 35 high-resolution drone cameras and in-service support for Ukraine. Another C$30 million will go to a Leopard 2 tank maintenance center in Poland.
Trudeau also stressed that Canada is willing to support Ukraine’s economy so it can withstand Russia’s invasion and build back in the future. The two leaders signed a modernized Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement and Zelenskiy was set to meet with business leaders in Toronto later Friday.
“This is a challenge on a generational scale, a challenge history will judge us on,” Trudeau said — one that requires a “lionhearted” bravery exemplified by Zelenskiy and all Ukrainians, he added. “They have fought back with a courage that has inspired the world.”
(Updates with announcements from news conference and changes throughout.)
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