Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says she is ready to “collaborate” on a committee that would study the strategy used by Ottawa to protect its diplomatic and local staff at the Kyiv embassy in the weeks preceding the invasion by Russia.
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A report from Globe & Mail released earlier this week quoting three diplomats as saying Canadian embassy officials had been instructed not to speak about potential threats to Ukrainian employees.
The latter could have appeared on lists of potential targets compiled by Russia, according to these diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“I never had that list. My department has never had that list,” said the minister in an interview.
To shed light on how her department handled the situation on the ground, she suggests that her colleagues from the other parties study everything in a committee.
However, as this is sensitive information relating to the intelligence services, “the best way to study” the question would be a committee behind closed doors and inaccessible to the public.
“I want to collaborate. I am ready to give all the information I have, but at the same time, I think that everything the government has done in connection with the war in Ukraine to protect Canadian diplomats and our personnel engaged locally in Ukraine has been more than what the duty of care normally required of us.”
The minister maintained that she “stayed in contact” with the employees there before and since the invasion, that no wages or benefits were cut and that Ottawa had offered them to settle in Canada. “Some came, some said no,” she said.
“Essentially, our goal was to go beyond our purely legal duty because for me it is a moral obligation. That’s why I’m very comfortable talking about this issue. […]added Ms. Joly.
the World revealed that a fundraiser had been launched by Canadian employees of the embassy to help their Ukrainian colleagues after the February 24 invasion. The exercise reportedly raised nearly $90,000.