Embassy in Kyiv: Joly proposes a committee to study the safety of local employees

Embassy in Kyïv: Joly proposes a committee to study the sé safety of local employees

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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 leading up to the invasion by Russia.

A report from Globe & Mail published earlier this week quoting three diplomats as saying Canadian embassy officials had been instructed not to discuss potential threats to Ukrainian employees.

These could have been included on lists of potential targets compiled by Russia, according to those diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“I never had that list. My department has never had that list,” the minister said in an interview.

To shed light on how her department handled the situation on the ground, she is suggesting to her colleagues from the other parties to study the whole thing in a committee.

Since this is sensitive information coming under the intelligence services, “the best way to study” the question would be a committee at closed 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 would normally require of us.”

The Minister maintained that she “stayed in contact” with the employees on site before and since the invasion, that no salary or benefit was cut and that Ottawa had offered them to settle in Canada. “Some came, some said no,” she said.

“Basically 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 Globe revealed that fundraising 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.