zolodymyr zelensky canadian parliament

Ukraine's president asks Justin Trudeau to imagine CN Tower hit by Russian bombs

Ukraine's stoic head of state, President Volodymyr Zelensky, addressed Canadian Parliament on Tuesday morning in a live remote appearance from embattled Kyiv, all as a noose of Russian Federation forces gradually encircle and bombard Ukraine's capital.

Justin Trudeau introduced the widely-admired world leader, Zelensky, appearing to a standing ovation in what has become his trademark post-invasion look of military fatigues and a five o'clock shadow.

Speaking without a translator, Zelensky expressed a mix of appreciation and frustration over Canadian responses, stressing Ukraine's hardships "over the last 20 days, during the full-scale aggression of the Russian Federation."

"Imagine that at 4 a.m. you start hearing bomb explosions," Zelensky asks, addressing Justin Trudeau directly. Zelensky asks if Trudeau can imagine hearing Ottawa bombed with his children present, continuing to describe the experience of Ukrainians through the lens of familiar Canadian locations and landmarks.

"Can you imagine if the famous CN Tower was hit by Russian bombs?," Zelensky asks the assembly at parliament, trying to put the bombing of national landmarks in Ukraine into perspective for Canadians.

Seeing his own towns and cities overrun by Russian troops, he asks, "can you imagine someone taking down your Canadian flags?"

"I would like you to understand this, what we feel every day," Zelensky implored. "We want to prevail for the sake of life."

The Canadian government has provided weapons, training, and $145 million worth of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, but Zelensky has been pushing hard for a NATO-enforced no-fly zone over his country, a fight which continued in his words for parliament.

"Can you imagine when you ask your friends, a nation, to please close the sky, close the airspace, stop the bombing, how many more cruise missiles have to fall on our cities before you make this happen?" he says, urging, begging for Canada to use its influence and standing within NATO to demand a no-fly zone is imposed over Ukraine's skies.

"What I am trying to say is that you all need to do more to stop Russia, to protect Ukraine, and by doing that, to protect Europe from the Russian threat," said Zelensky. "We are not asking for much, we are asking for justice. For real support."

He closed his speech with a "Glory to Ukraine, thank you to Canada," met with a standing ovation from the entire House of Commons, the thunderous applause lasting an impressive three full minutes.

Lead photo by Sanjin Avdicevic

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