Canada’s Ambassador to Ukraine is working off-site for security reasons

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau raised the flag above the Canadian Embassy in Kyiv in May and announced its reopening.

Almost three months later, Canada’s Ambassador to Ukraine is not back at her old office, but is instead working at another location in Kyiv with her staff for security reasons.

Russian forces, which invaded Ukraine in late February, launched a missile attack on the Kyiv region on Thursday for the first time in weeks.

« Security issues persist and as a result the ambassador and staff are working off-site in Kyiv to ensure their safety, » said Jason Kung, spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada.

The re-establishment of a diplomatic presence in the capital has enabled Canada to work closely with Ukraine to support the country against Russia’s illegal invasion and address issues such as food insecurity, as well as investigations on war crimes, he said.

Russian forces on Thursday launched a missile attack on the Kyiv region for the first time in weeks.

Russia fired six missiles from the Black Sea, hitting a military unit in the village of Liutizh on the outskirts of the capital, reports a senior Ukrainian official, Oleksii Hromov.

The attack destroyed one building and damaged two others, he said, injuring 15 people, including civilians.

In June, Russian missiles hit a nine-story residential building and a day care center in central Kyiv, killing one person and injuring six others, according to Ukrainian officials.

Trudeau made a surprise visit to Ukraine in May with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly and Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine Larisa Galadza, announcing the reopening of the embassy.

Hoisting the Canadian flag above the site on Kostelna Street, he said the ambassador would be back at her post in a few days.

However, the iron doors of the embassy were closed and padlocked this week with a sign indicating that it has “suspended its operations due to the security situation”.

Indeed, Global Affairs Canada says that although Ottawa has re-established a diplomatic presence in Ukraine, diplomatic staff are not working at the embassy due to security concerns.

Earlier this month, the Canada Visa Application Center in Lviv reopened for appointments to help Ukrainians apply for visas to Canada.

However, consular and immigration services are being provided from Poland and other European countries “until further notice,” ministry spokesman Jason Kung said.

« We continue to assess the posting of personnel to Kyiv, » he said, adding that Canada looks forward to gradually restoring Canada’s full diplomatic presence and services as soon as possible.


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