Italy and Canada sign security deals with Ukraine

Kyiv: The leaders of Canada and Italy signed security agreements with Ukraine this week after talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as Kyiv marked the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Canada and Italy join Britain, Germany, France and Denmark in concluding 10-year security deals with Kyiv that are intended to shore up Ukraine’s security until it can reach its aim of becoming a member of the NATO military alliance.

“We continue to support Ukraine in what I have always believed is its people’s just right to defend themselves,” Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said at a news conference.

“This also necessarily means military support, because to confuse the much bandied-about word ‘peace’ with ‘surrender’, as some do, is a hypocritical approach that we will never share,” she said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Ottawa’s support for Kyiv remained “unwavering” two years after Russia launched its full-scale invasion.

“Today, standing shoulder to shoulder with our allies and partners, Canada committed to further assistance, including military and humanitarian support, for Ukraine,” he said.

Zelenskiy told reporters at the news conference that Saturday had been “a unique day for our country”.

The two security agreements were signed at the start of a joint news conference with Zelenskiy, Meloni, Trudeau and the leaders of Belgium and the European Union.

Trudeau’s office said Canada would provide more than 3 billion Canadian dollars ($2.22 billion) in financial and defence aid to Ukraine in 2024.

Meloni gave no financial details about the Italian accord.