Amid extended standing ovations from the Canadian Parliament Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, made an urgent plea to Canada to do what it can to help the Ukraine control its airspace. In pointed language he made reference to the blowing up of a Kyiv TV tower by Russian troops, asking “imagine if it was your CN tower?” Speaking by video link Russia, Zelenskyy said Russia is trying to “annihilate” Ukraine. He expressed gratitude to Canada for the support it has extended thus far in the form of military equipment and sanctions, but said these measures have not been enough.
Canada, as a member of NATO, has followed the lead of US President Joe Biden in saying it is impossible to establish a no-fly zone fearing it would escalate the crisis by forcing NATO forces to come into direct combat with Russian military. ,In his remarks Zelenskyy seemed to be trying to strike a balance between thanking Canada for its support while at the same time shaming Canada and Western nations for not being more aggressive.
Zelenskyy will make a similar appearance before the US Congress tomorrow, and if his remarks are similar as today’s it will no doubt spark a sharp debate between more hawkish lawmakers and those who fear escalation.