Home Ministry of affairs Canada will send its ambassador back to Ukraine when he is safe, says Joly

Canada will send its ambassador back to Ukraine when he is safe, says Joly

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Representatives of most Western countries fled Ukraine when war broke out, but more than two dozen have already returned, even as the conflict drags on

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OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly has said Canada’s ambassador to Ukraine will return to the country as soon as it is safe to do so, but neither she nor the prime minister would say whether they plan to return. return.

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Canada began to reduce its diplomatic presence in Ukraine in late January as intelligence services warned of an impending Russian invasion.

The families of diplomatic personnel were evacuated first on January 25, followed by non-essential personnel on January 30.

On February 12, the embassy was moved to Lviv in western Ukraine, then to Poland on February 24, the day of the Russian invasion. Ambassador Larisa Galadza remains in Poland.

Representatives of most Western countries fled Ukraine when the war broke out, but more than two dozen have already returned, even as the conflict drags on.

Several of Canada’s G7 allies have already returned to Kyiv — France and Italy the third week of April, and the UK last week.

The United States begins by sending diplomats on a day trip to western Ukraine before re-establishing the embassy presence in the capital Kyiv. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited there last week. US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in Kyiv on May 1.

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Joly said April 22 that Canada was looking at how to reopen the embassy safely and last week he said Canada was looking at what his colleagues at Five Eyes were doing. The Five Eyes is an intelligence alliance made up of Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.

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A spokesperson for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs told local media on Wednesday that the situation was under review but that for now Australian embassy staff will continue to work from Poland.

New Zealand normally only has one Honorary Consul in Ukraine, with diplomatic staff from the Polish Embassy assisting New Zealand citizens in Ukraine.

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Joly stressed that security remained an issue, noting Russian airstrikes near kyiv and in Lviv on Wednesday.

“Well, certainly our goal is to make sure that we return a diplomatic presence, indeed, to Ukraine,” she said on Wednesday.

“I can already confirm that Larisa Galadza, who was our ambassador to Ukraine and stationed in southern Poland, will return. This is clearly our goal. Now I’m looking in terms of days to make sure we can make this announcement.

It remains unclear when or if Joly or Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit Ukraine.

Joly mentioned the need for a security assessment. Trudeau ignored the question as he left the Liberal caucus meeting on Wednesday. Later, on his way to the House of Commons for question period, he said only that Canada supports Ukraine and is in constant contact with the government.

“We continue to look for all the ways that we can’t just support them, but continue to demonstrate our support for them,” Trudeau said.

Several world leaders have traveled to Kyiv in recent weeks to show solidarity with Ukraine, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Trudeau traveled to Europe in March for meetings on the Ukraine invasion, with stops in the UK, Poland, Latvia and Germany.