Justin Trudeau visits Ukraine with no prior announcementtext_fields
Kyiv: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a surprise trip to Kyiv on Saturday amidst the intense clashes between Ukrainian and Russian forces along the southern front line.
He was scheduled to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky later in the day. Trudeau also took a moment to pay his respects to fallen soldiers by placing flowers on a memorial wall. It was accompanied by a military orchestra.
During his visit, Trudeau also toured an outdoor exhibition featuring the remnants of destroyed military vehicles, serving as a stark reminder of the devastating impact of the conflict. In a symbolic exchange, Ukraine's Deputy Defence Minister Oleksandr Polishchuk presented Trudeau with a container of shrapnel from a rocket that had struck the Black Sea port city of Odesa.
Trudeau also engaged with a group of Ukrainian soldiers who had received training in Canada. Colonel Petro Ostapchuk, one of the soldiers, expressed his gratitude for the prime minister's visit, highlighting the valuable training provided to enhance their skills as elite shooters, engineers, and young commanders, reported AFP. "It's a great privilege to meet the prime minister," he shared, acknowledging the strong partnership between Canada and Ukraine.
Canada, with its significant Ukrainian diaspora, has been a steadfast ally of Kyiv since the Russian invasion began in February 2022. Ottawa's support has been substantial, encompassing military aid, the training of over 36,000 soldiers, and the imposition of sanctions against Moscow.
Trudeau's unannounced visit to Ukraine serves as a testament to the strength of this alliance. His presence is considered a visible demonstration of Canada's unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty.
Trudeau's visit coincided with reports of Russia successfully repelling Ukrainian attacks in the eastern and southern regions, leading some observers to speculate about Kyiv's anticipated large-scale counter-offensive. Ukraine has so far downplayed the significance of these attacks and suggested a measured approach to the evolving situation.