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Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers message to 10 Canadian universities, including Queen’s

Students from 10 Canadian Universities, including Queen's heard from Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky. Global News

It was a unique moment Wednesday for 10 Canadian universities, including Queen’s.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed students and scholars remotely from his war-torn country.

Speaking through a translator, President Zelenskyy addressed university students and scholars from as far east as the University of Prince Edward Island to the western universities of Calgary and Alberta.

Katrina Korotky, co-president of the Queen’s University Ukrainian student association, says she doesn’t have words to describe the fact that the Ukrainian president took the time to speak to students and answer their questions.

“We know we’re doing our part, and we know we’re trying our best, and the fact that he has the time to speak with us is just very, very moving,” Korotky said.

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In his speech, the Ukrainian president continued his political offensive to maintain and build global support for his country, which was invaded by Vladimir Putin’s Russia last February.
Zelenskyy highlighted Canada’s and Ukraine’s shared values like democracy and how education has changed in a time of war.

“The teachers of our universities sometimes are teaching from the trenches, from the front line,” Zelenskyy said.

Those statements hit home to the audience of university students.

“Honestly, very inspirational,” Korotky said. “I had no idea that teachers were doing that on the front lines, and that’s awesome that they can do that.”

Zelenskyy was asked by a University of Alberta student what they should be asking of Canada’s political leaders to best support the Ukrainian people.

Zelensky’s response was familiar and consistent.

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“We need weapons, we need financial support, we need humanitarian support, and we need permanent 24/7 sanctions pressure,” Zelenskyy said.

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Korotky, in her role with the Ukrainian students association, has organized rallies and says they’ve been working with the charitable organization Help Us Help, which gathers medical supplies for civilians in Ukraine.

And Korotky says more initiatives are being worked on.

“What we’re really lacking is feminine hygiene products, so I think one fundraiser that will separate us from other universities is that we will probably fundraise for those kinds of products,” she said.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is now almost four months old.

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