Kyiv, Ukraine mayor addresses Toronto council, calls for defensive weapons as war continues

The mayor and deputy mayor of Kyiv, Ukraine addressed Toronto City Council on Thursday, and called for an end to the Russian invasion and for defensive weapons to be sent to the country.

In their virtual address, Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko and Deputy Mayor Povoroznyk called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a tragedy for the country and the whole world.

Klitschko said that Ukraine is a peaceful nation, adding that the war is a “genocide on the Ukrainian population.”

Read more: UN votes Russia out of human rights council citing Bucha killings

Klitschko pointed to horrific scenes from the town of Bucha, Ukraine. Earlier this week reports of a civilian massacre emerged from the town, days after it was occupied by Russian troops.

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“Three hundred civilians died and right now we guess it can be much, much more,” he said.

Klitschko said it’s unclear exactly how many civilians have been killed in the war, as efforts to recover bodies are ongoing.

Read more: Ontario announces supports for Ukrainian refugees who come to the province

“It’s a big tragedy, not just for the city, but all (of) Ukraine but for many countries,” he said.

Klitschko said it is also a “big tragedy” for Russia.

“Because the Russian population (does) not understand what’s going on,” he said. “They were told this war was against nationalist radicals, extremists, fascists… it’s a lie.”

“It’s a war against (the) Ukrainian population,” he said. “Against every one of Ukraine.”

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Klitschko said he is “optimistic” that Ukraine will survive the invasion, but said he is not sure what Russia’s plans are.

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“They want to rebuild (the) Soviet Union,” he said. “And where does the Russian plans stop?”

He said he thinks Putin is “sick.”

“Because (a) normal human (would) never bring such painful tragedy for many nations,” he said.

Klitschko said they expect most of the activity in the next few days will take place in eastern part of the country, and said “friends of Ukraine” should send “defensive weapons.”

Klitschko’s made the comments just hours before the United Nations voted to remove Russia from the organization’s human rights council over the massacre in Bucha.

What’s more, NATO countries also greed to ramp-up the supply of weapons to Kyiv, including high-tech arms to Ukraine on Thursday.

Read more: Kyiv, Ukraine mayor to speak to Toronto city councillors Thursday

In a press release issued Thursday, Toronto Mayor John Tory said council “stands in solidarity” with Mayor Klitschko and Deputy Mayor Povoroznyk in calling for a “free Ukraine.”

“Thank you to Mayor Klitschko and Deputy Mayor Povoroznyk for taking time to address our City Council today while you and your residents are in the fight of your lives,” he said in a statement.

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“Your courage and your determination to fight for your city and your residents is an inspiration to us here in Toronto and to people around the world. The violence and destruction in Ukraine must stop.”

Tory said he will continue to work with his counterparts in the provincial and federal government to ensure the city can “best assist Ukraine and it’s people” and “achieve a free Ukraine once again.

“We will continue to support our Ukrainian Canadian community throughout this time,” he said.

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