Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will address the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Zelenskyy is expected to challenge Canada to send more weapons, money and support for a no-fly zone

OTTAWA—Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to challenge Canada to send more weapons, money and support for a no-fly zone during an address to Parliament on Tuesday, 21 days after Russia invaded his country.

Two large screens are set up in the House of Commons, in advance of Zelenskyy’s address from his war-torn country. Guests began to trickle in two hours beforehand.

The Ukrainian leader’s repeated appeals for a no-fly zone have met opposition in the west.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged his government will do “everything” it can to support Ukraine.

Previously Trudeau dismissed a no-fly zone “in which NATO forces are in direct conflict with Russian soldiers,” is to be “avoided.”

“That would be a level of escalation that is unfortunate that we need to avoid.”

The speech to the Canadian parliament comes as three prime ministers from neighbouring countries, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovenia were travelling to Kyiv to show solidarity and express EU support.

But on Tuesday, the Russian advance was reportedly 15 kilometres from the capital.

A former actor and comedian whose surprise election win saw him thrust into the president’s role at a time of rising Russian aggression against his country, Zelenskyy has emerged as a powerful war-time leader.

His defiance along with his country’s resistance to the Russian invasion have so far held much of the country’s ground and air defences against a more powerfully armed aggressor.

Whether taped from the streets of Kyiv, his office or a bunker as the Russian shelling of Kyiv has progressed, Zelenskyy’s video messages during the 21-day war have motivated and inspired his people and leaders around the world.

Just as he has previously turned addresses to the British and the European Parliaments, and the U.S. congress into appeals to their lawmakers’ conscience, so too has Zelenskyy demanded help of Canada.

He is scheduled to make another U.S. address to Congress Wednesday.

Trudeau had invited Zelenskyy to make the address just four days ago during a trip to Europe to coordinate the Liberal minority government’s response with allies and highlight Canada’s support of Ukraine.

A senior Canadian official speaking before the address told the Star that whatever message or pressure Zelenskyy brings to bear that would seek Canada to do more would be welcome.

U.S. President Joe Biden has rejected a no-fly zone saying it would start another world war. He has also rejected an offer by Poland to transfer its Soviet-era jets to Ukrainian pilots in exchange for U.S. fighter jets swapping to maintain Poland’s defence capability.

Canada, which is home to the largest Ukrainian population outside Ukraine and Russia, was the first western country to recognize Ukraine’s independence on Dec. 2, 1991.

Since the crisis broke out, Canada has levied and helped coordinate economic and financial sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian lawmakers, banks and oligarchs.

The Trudeau government has also banned Russia’s “negligible” energy exports to Canada, stripped Russia of WTO “most favoured nation” trading status with this country leading to 35 per cent tariffs on its exports, and promises more.

Ottawa pulled its 200 military trainers out of Ukraine, but is sending an additional 460 troops to Operation Reassurance, part of the NATO mission to reinforce the eastern flank — an effort that has added an extra frigate, a maritime patrol aircraft and two heavylift cargo planes to the region.

The federal government has also sent anti-tank weapons, grenades, rocket launchers, defensive gear, and $145 million in humanitarian aid, offered loans of up to $500 million, and adopted easier immigration mechanisms for Ukraine refugees, but has not lifted a visa requirement.

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