By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged more military aid to Kyiv on June 10 during an unannounced visit to the Ukrainian capital and denounced the destruction of the Russian-controlled Kakhovka dam in southern Ukraine.
Trudeau announced a new package of military aid worth C$500 million ($375 million) and said Canada will take part in a multinational effort to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets.
Canada also will supply 287 additional air defense missiles to the Ukrainian military and 10,000 155-millimeter projectiles, the prime minister said.
Canada has already provided billions of dollars in aid, including C$1 billion ($750 million), he said, adding that the people of Ukraine “can count on the fact that Canada will continue its political, financial, humanitarian, and military support as long as necessary.”
Trudeau, whose surprise visit to Kyiv was his second since the start of the war in February 2022, told a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that Canada was seizing a Russian-owned Antonov cargo aircraft that landed in Canada last year and starting the process of forfeiting the aircraft to Ukraine.
Zelenskiy said during the press conference that Ukraine’s long-awaited counteroffensive was under way but declined to give any details.
“Counteroffensive and defensive actions are taking place in Ukraine,” Zelenskiy said in response to a question about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim on June 9 that Ukrainian forces had begun their counteroffensive. He also listed Ukraine’s top military officers by name, saying they all are “in a positive mood,” telling reporters to “pass that on to Putin.”
He added: “It’s interesting what Putin said about our counteroffensive. It is important that Russia always feels this…. They do not have long left, in my opinion.”
In his comments about the collapse of the Kakhovka dam, Trudeau stopped short of blaming Russia, citing the ongoing investigation.
“I know there are investigators and there are a lot of questions and intelligence being analyzed on what exactly happened to have this dam collapse,” he said. “But there is no doubt in my mind that absent Russia’s invasion of last February, that dam would still be standing today.”
Zelenskiy’s office said he and Trudeau adopted a declaration noting that Canada remains steadfast in its commitment to the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
Canada, which is home to many Ukrainian emigrants, has been one of Kyiv’s key allies since the Russian invasion. In addition to providing Ukraine with significant military aid, it has trained more than 36,000 soldiers and adopted sanctions against Moscow.