Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Canada has been “acting promptly” to his country’s requests for support while condemning Iran for its involvement in supplying Russia with killer drones.
Zelenskyy on Wednesday sat down CTV News Chief International Correspondent Paul Workman, where he said he’s “truly grateful” for the military aid that Ottawa has provided.
“This is more than a partnership. It’s something more. It’s something bigger. It’s like being relatives, regardless of the distance,” he said of Canada-Ukraine relations.
In its most recent aid package to Ukraine, the federal government announced last week it will be sending artillery, drone cameras, winter gear and satellite communications services, worth a combined $47 million.
Meanwhile, Russia has been launching Iranian-made kamikaze Shahed-136 drones in Ukraine, targeting critical infrastructure such as power stations and water supplies. According to U.S. intelligence, Iran has even sent personnel to Crimea to train the Russians on how to use these weapons.
Iran has denied sending Russia its drones, but Zelenskyy said Tehran’s denials are all lies.
“We’re speaking precisely. Iran is supplying drones that have killed Ukrainians and keep killing. It’s not one to five. It’s not an accident. It’s hundreds.,” Zelenskyy said.
Below is a partial transcript of the interview with Zelenskyy, edited for clarity and length:
Paul Workman: Mr. President, thank you very much for sitting down with us. Canada and Ukraine have got a long, long, long friendly relationship. And on that note, you’ve asked Canada for more armoured vehicles and more weapons and you haven’t received them. Do you feel let down by that? How much more do you think Canada should step up to help Ukraine?
Volodymyr Zelenskyy: Thank you very much. First of all, I would like to say that Canada is reacting promptly to our requests concerning the support of Ukraine and this is true.
This is more than a partnership. It’s something more. It’s something bigger. It’s like being relatives, regardless of the distance. I want to emphasize once again the distance is not measured in kilometres, it is measured in completely different things, in values and in attitudes towards each other’s history.
It’s a very powerful support. Not every state can boast of that amount (of support). Although at the same time, Trudeau is not boasting. I’m again very grateful for that. I realized that this is not the money of the government. But first of all, it’s the money of this society and the taxpayers. So I’m truly grateful.
Workman: We saw this week the terrifying scenes of Kyiv being hit by kamikaze drones. How can you possibly defend against such an insidious weapon like this? And can you confirm that Iranians are in Crimea, training the Russians on how to use these weapons?
Zelenskyy: We all have to defend, first of all, ourselves from lies that have been spread by some people.
I do not trust the leadership of Iran and, by the way … speaking of friendship with Canada, tragedies connect us. I personally do not trust those Iranian words. I don’t mean the population I mean the government.
Why? Do you remember the tragedy of the Ukrainian Airlines (Flight 752), which was taken down when Iranian missile hit it, and there were lots of Canadian citizens on board. Iranian leadership said, “That wasn’t us.”
Instead of condolences, I heard nothing and they did nothing.
This is about their attitudes. It’s the lies I connect to their leadership and now I’m going to talk about it. Now it’s a second tragic situation on every level.
A lot of countries, a lot of intelligence from our partners … they gave us all that information and we knew that Iran is trading with Russia with Shahed drones, with missiles, etc.
Iran publicly denied all that, saying that we didn’t sell anything, but here we see hundreds of strikes in Ukraine, at the Capitol, civil infrastructure, at schools, at the university, and the shutting down of our energy system so our people can’t get through the winter.
So what trust can we talk about? Iran supplies them drones … The killing of Ukrainians. This is what they agreed on. Agreed on for money. This bloody money that Iran is earning.
We’re speaking precisely. Iran is supplying drones that have killed Ukrainians and keep killing. It’s not one to five. It’s not an accident. It’s hundreds.
We know that agreements about thousands (of drones) exist. We know it for sure. But hundreds are already here. We cannot trust them.
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