Ottawa/CMEDIA: During his suprise visit to Kyiv on Saturday, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $500 million more in Canadian military aid as Ukraine has stepped up its long-anticipated counteroffensive to drive Russia’s army out of occupied eastern and southern regions of the battered country.
Accompanied on the trip by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Trudeau, earlier in the day, met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Canada has committed over $8 billion in funding assistance to Ukraine since last year, said Trudeau, including over $1 billion in military aid, since the start of the Russian invasion early in 2022.
Offering no details on how the new funding would be spent, Trudeau indicated Canada would also extend its military training mission, known as Operation Unifier, until 2026 and offered to help train Ukrainian pilots, along with other countries, on the F-16 fighter aircraft.
Counteroffensive and defensive actions were underway, Zelenskyy said at a news conference alongside Trudeau, asserting his top commanders were positive as their troops engaged in intense fighting along the front line.
Responding to a question about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comment a day earlier that Ukraine’s counteroffensive had started, and Ukrainian forces were taking “significant losses,” Zelenskyy was reported to say that the counteroffensive, defensive actions were in place in Ukraine.
“I am in touch with our commanders of different directions every day,” he added, citing the names of five of Ukraine’s top military leaders. “Everyone is positive. Pass this on to Putin.”
Zelenskyy’s government is struggling to assess the damage caused by the destruction of the giant Nova Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine, which on Friday was reportedly caused by some kind of explosion.
On Saturday, Canada also committed $10 million in humanitarian aid and promised to redirect previously announced $37 million toward helping Ukraine manage and recover from the effects of the breach.
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