May 8, 2022 - World

Justin Trudeau makes surprise visit to Ukraine

Trudeau and Zelensky joint press conference
Justin Trudeau and Volodymyr Zelensky address a joint press conference in Kyiv on May 8. Photo: Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a surprise visit to Irpin, Ukraine on Sunday, the town's mayor Olexander Markushyn said in a Telegram post alongside photos of Trudeau walking around the town.

Driving the news: Trudeau also traveled to Kyiv, where he presided over the raising of the Canadian flag at the country's embassy and announced its reopening, per Politico.

  • During a joint press conference in Kyiv alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trudeau announced more military assistance for Ukraine, including for drone cameras, satellite imagery, small arms and ammunition.
  • Trudeau also announced additional funding for demining operations, women's and human rights organizations, and the World Food Program. Canada will impose new sanctions on 40 Russians and five Russian entities, and remove trade tariffs on Ukrainian imports coming to Canada for the next year, he added.

What they're saying: "He has just had the honor of speaking with the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau," Markushyn wrote. "He came to Irpin to see with his own eyes all the horror that the Russian occupiers had done to our city."

  • "And, of course, he was shocked. After all, he saw burned and completely destroyed not military facilities, but the homes of Irpin residents, who until recently enjoyed life and had their own plans for the future," he added.
  • "My sincere thanks to Mr. Trudeau for the support that Canada is providing to Ukraine today."

The big picture: "We’re here to show our support for Ukraine and its people," Trudeau tweeted, adding that he was accompanied by Foreign Minister Melanie Joly and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.

  • "Our message to President @ZelenskyyUa and Ukrainians is this: Canada will always stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine."

The big picture: Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv, endured heavy fighting in the early part of the war as Russian troops attempted to advance on the capital. Ukrainian troops retook control of the city in late March.

Trudeau is the latest world leader to visit Ukraine since the start of Russia's unprovoked invasion.

State of play: First lady Jill Biden also made an unannounced visit to Ukraine Sunday to meet with Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska.

Go deeper ... In photos: Jill Biden hears stories from Ukrainian refugees

Editor's note: This post was updated with additional details throughout.

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