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Zelenskyy says he asked Trudeau for help in removing landmines

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he had called on Canada on Wednesday to lead an unprecedented drive to rid his country of landmines linked to Russia’s seven-month-old invasion.

Canada has spearheaded worldwide campaigns to ban landmines since the 1990s. It was instrumental in the 1999 Ottawa Convention, signed by 133 states, to outlaw the use of the weapons.

Zelenskyy, speaking in an video address after a conversation with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said Canada had the right technology and appropriate humanitarian ambitions to help.

“I invited Prime Minister Trudeau to lead a global effort to clear our land of Russian mines and shells. As a result of the Russian war, Ukraine’s territory has one of the greatest concentrations of mines in the world,” he said.

“We have to do what has not been done before: we have to create a precedent of swift and large-sale demining and not leave the problem for decades,” he said, thanking Canada for its “readiness to help.”

An account of the conversation from Trudeau’s office made no mention of Zelenskyy’s proposal.

The United States, Russia, China and India have not signed the Ottawa Convention.

(Reporting by Ronald Popeski, editing by David Ljunggren; editing by Grant McCool)

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