Canada plans to reopen embassy in Ukraine in coming days or weeks: Joly

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly says the Canadian government intends to reopen its embassy doors in Ukraine shortly, following in the footsteps of its allies.

Appearing before the Senate foreign affairs and international trade committee on Thursday, Joly said Ottawa is considering “different scenarios” to do so.

“My objective is to do so in the coming days, coming weeks. We just need to make sure that there is a secure environment for staff and also we're looking at what our other Five Eyes colleagues and allies are doing,” Joly said.

Canada closed its embassy in Kyiv on Feb. 12, and relocated diplomatic staff to the western city of Lviv as threats of a Russian invasion intensified. All staff have since been moved to Poland.

Nearly two weeks later, Russian forces invaded the country.

Last Friday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain planned to revive its on-the-ground diplomacy in Ukraine this week. The U.S., France, and Italy have announced similar plans.

This has placed enhanced pressure on the Canadian government to follow suit. Joly said she addressed the issue with Canada’s Ambassador to Ukraine Larisa Galadza on Thursday morning.

Former Canadian ambassador to Russia Jeremy Kinsman says Canada should never have moved its diplomatic presence out of Ukraine.

“We should never have left. We shouldn’t have closed the embassy. I don’t know why governments repeatedly forget what we’ve learned from the past… Our embassies are accredited to a government and you don’t walk out on the government,” he said on CTV News Channel’s Power Play last Friday.

Joly was also asked by senators how seriously Canada should take Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threat of nuclear weapons.

The minister said the world must be prepared for all scenarios.

“It won't be the end nor the last time Russia makes threats in light of the fact that Ukrainian forces are resisting way more than they thought,” she said.

Russia continues to make advances in the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine in what officials are calling a “special military operation.”

Those advances are expected to escalate in the days leading up to May 9, also known as “Victory Day” in Russia, a holiday recognizing the Soviet Union’s role in liberating Nazi Germany.

Joly pointed to the date as an explanation behind recent increased military aid shipments to Ukraine.

Defence Minister Anita Anand told reporters Thursday while visiting her counterpart in Washington, that Canadian troops are currently training Ukrainian forces how to use the M777 cannons they sent them last week.

With a file from The Canadian Press.

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