Zelenskyy involves Ottawa as Ukraine scrambles to shore up allies’ help


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy touched down in Ottawa late Thursday night time — and consultants say the political headwinds he’ll face in Canada seemingly will likely be much less chilly than these he skilled in Washington.

Zelenskyy is on a two-day go to which can conclude with a cease in Toronto for a gathering with the enterprise group.

It is his first journey to Canada for the reason that full Russian invasion final yr.

Alongside together with his new defence minister, Rustem Umerov, Zelenskyy will meet and transient federal cupboard ministers on the progress the Ukrainian navy has made because it launched a counteroffensive in June to drive Russian forces in a foreign country.

It is anticipated Ottawa will announce additional navy and social help whereas Zelenskyy is within the nation. There may also be a proper welcoming ceremony on Parliament Hill at this time.

Throughout a whirlwind cease in Washington on Thursday, Zelenskyy acquired a extra subdued reception than the hero’s welcome he acquired late final yr. There was no band to greet him on the Pentagon and U.S. Home Speaker Kevin McCarthy — aware of the Republicans who’re bored with funding Ukraine’s struggle effort — selected to not greet the Ukrainian chief earlier than the cameras.

Two men, one in military fatigues, walk along a sunlit veranda.
President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, stroll alongside the Colonnade on the White Home to the Oval Workplace, throughout a go to to the White Home, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023 in Washington. (Jim Watson/Related Press)

Zelenskyy received typically beneficial opinions from U.S. lawmakers for his pitch for additional struggle help.

Regardless of the nice and cozy phrases from most congressmen and senators, Zelenskyy left behind a reasonably divided Washington. He is anticipated to face a much less skeptical viewers within the Home of Commons at this time, the place he’ll ship an handle to MPs and senators.

“I do not see divisions when it comes to political help” in Canada, mentioned Dominique Arel, chair of Ukrainian research on the College of Ottawa. He mentioned political skepticism in Washington shouldn’t be as huge or deep as it might appear proper now.

“Though the Republican get together is split, it isn’t going full anti-Ukraine, pro-Trump on that rating,” he mentioned.

Zelenskyy wants to indicate progress, knowledgeable says

Considered one of Zelenskyy’s targets in Ottawa — because it was in Washington — will likely be to reassure lawmakers that his nation is making progress in its counteroffensive within the east and south and Ukraine has a technique for victory, Arel mentioned.

Eighteen months for the reason that full Russian invasion, he mentioned, the stress is on Zelenskyy to make a compelling argument to Canadians that his nation is engaged in a type of a high-intensity warfare that Europe hasn’t seen for the reason that Forties, and that “these are lengthy wars.”

Negotiations with particular person allies on safety assurances are central to Ukraine’s struggle effort. On the NATO summit in July, G7 international locations pledged to barter long-term safety preparations whereas Ukraine waits to be accepted in NATO.

That may require sustained, predictable funding from allies, together with Canada and the U.S.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, talks to reporters as he arrives at the chamber for the final votes of the week, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 15, 2023.
U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley claimed to have been unimpressed with what he heard from his colleagues and the Ukrainian chief about U.S. help. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Popping out of a briefing with Zelenskyy on Capitol Hill on Thursday, U.S. Republican Sen. Josh Hawley dismissively described what he heard from his colleagues and the Ukrainian chief as a plea to “buckle up and get out your chequebook.”

President Joe Biden introduced a $325 million help package deal for Ukraine after a gathering with Zelenskyy on Thursday. Because the full-scale Russian invasion started in February 2022, the U.S. has delivered greater than $40 billion in safety help to Ukraine.

Not too long ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s authorities quietly put aside one other $500 million in navy help — it has but to elucidate how it’ll spend it. Canada has dedicated $1.8 billion in defence {hardware} and munitions to Ukraine thus far.

A distracted America in 2024

An American international coverage knowledgeable mentioned help from smaller international locations like Canada might turn into extra essential within the coming months as america turns into extra distracted by subsequent yr’s upcoming presidential election.

Matthew Schmidt of the College of New Haven mentioned it should turn into more and more tough to get giant defence help packages by Congress within the coming months.

“We will go into an virtually sure authorities shutdown in 2023. In 2024, you are unlikely to get a serious invoice due to the election,” Schmidt mentioned in an interview.

“Assuming one of the best case situation, with Democrats taking up every little thing, which is not going to occur … you continue to will not get appropriations payments with giant quantities of cash for Ukraine till April 2025.”

That would not stop the U.S. president from authorizing smaller packages by govt orders, he added.

Much more vital, mentioned Schmidt, was the information this week that Poland, considered one of Ukraine’s staunchest allies, will halt navy donations following a commerce dispute over agriculture. The federal government in Kyiv is taking Warsaw to the World Commerce Group over grain shipments.

The timing could not be worse, Schmidt mentioned, and it speaks to a blindspot within the Zelenskyy authorities’s relations with different international locations.

“I am unsure that it was clever by Ukraine to make an argument about, you already know, Polish agricultural coverage and the receipt of Ukrainian grain,” he mentioned. “I perceive Kyiv’s place however ultimately, it’s important to weigh that towards the wants of armaments. And I believe maybe they’ll remorse making a choice.”

The Ukrainians have to do a greater job of understanding the home politics of their allies and the way it drives international coverage, Schmidt mentioned.

“Ukraine wants to know the home coverage of america so as to perceive or predict our international coverage,” he mentioned. “And it wanted to know Polish home coverage, the Polish home politics and the infighting between the events and a really tight election that is developing.”

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