(Ottawa) “We are engaged in a real battle for our independence and we are paying a very real price. Today, Ukraine pays very dearly for having defended its convictions, that is to say democracy and the freedom to choose its future”, declared in front of the Parliament of Canada the President of Ukraine .
These words are not those of the current leader of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, who will address parliamentarians on Tuesday. Rather, they belong to his predecessor, Petro Poroshenko, who was invited to the Commons in September 2014, a few months after the illegal annexation of Crimea and the start of the war in Donbass.
Saluting the “thousands of Ukrainian men and women [qui] courageously sacrifice their lives to defend their right to live as they see fit in their homeland, under the Ukrainian banner”, the President assured that “Ukraine has crossed the Rubicon and will never go back [dans le giron soviétique] “.
Almost eight years later, Ukrainian forces continue to resist the invader. And on day 20 of the outbreak of the war, while the bombing continues on the ground, their commander-in-chief, Volodymyr Zelensky, continues his diplomatic tour, virtually.
After speaking in the British Parliament – where he received a warm ovation – the President of Ukraine will deliver it to the Canadian Parliament. “Canadians have been inspired by the courage and resilience of Ukrainians and the leadership of the President, and I know they can’t wait to hear it,” Justin Trudeau wrote on Twitter last Wednesday.
The two men have exchanged several times since the start of the war and they maintain close ties.
A closeness that characterizes the relationship between Ukraine and Canada, where the second largest Ukrainian diaspora is located after that of Russia, with 1.3 million people.
This is also the third time that a Ukrainian president has received an invitation to deliver a speech during joint sessions of Parliament. Before the one who is now the number one enemy of the Kremlin, there was Petro Poroshenko, in 2014, and Viktor Yushchenko, in 2008.
A Russian ?
Yes: Boris Elstine, in 1992.
“More than anyone, we know the nightmare of totalitarianism. This is why we chose democracy. […] Better than anyone, we know what it’s like to be everyone’s enemy. We have therefore chosen transparency, cooperation with the world community, ”said the first president designate of Russia.
What to expect from Zelensky?
Putin’s Russia, President Zelensky has urged UK Parliament to slap it with additional sanctions, designate it a ‘terrorist state’ and make ‘Ukraine’s skies safe’, transcript says of the plea he delivered in front of a room packed with elected officials and members of the House of Lords.
Kyiv’s request to impose a no-fly zone was dismissed out of hand by NATO countries, including Canada. Prime Minister Trudeau said he rejected the request specifically made to him by his Ukrainian counterpart, CTV reported last Thursday.
“It’s heartbreaking,” he said in an interview on the English network. We can’t do that. “Because the” risk of escalation “is too high” if we send NATO planes in the sky of Ukraine to shoot down Russian planes “, argued the Canadian leader.
This will probably not prevent Volodymyr Zelensky from returning to the charge on Tuesday, believes political scientist Justin Massie.
“That’s what I expect, absolutely. Essentially, he takes this time to seek support not just from the government, but also from the opposition parties,” he said in an interview.
Zelensky’s strategy is obviously to ask for the maximum and hope to have a little more.
Justin Massie, full professor of political science at UQAM
None of the parties in Ottawa are in favor of imposing a no-fly zone, but they do have demands – more weapons, more money or even more action on hospitality. refugees – notes Mr. Massie, full professor of political science at UQAM and co-director of the Network for Strategic Analysis.
“If I were the Trudeau government, I would therefore already have a few announcements ready in my sleeve to be able to have a positive response to its requests”, underlines Justin Massie.
The Prime Minister will be the first to speak, at the opening of the session. This will be followed by President Zelensky, the Presidents of the Senate and of the House, and then the leaders of all the opposition parties.
For the leader of Ukraine, the next – virtual – stopover after Ottawa is Washington. He was invited to speak to members of the US Congress by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.