OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hoisted the flag over the Canadian embassy in Kyiv in May, announcing its reopening.
Almost three months later, Canada’s ambassador to Ukraine is no longer in her old office, but is working with her staff at another location in Kyiv 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 remain and as a result, the ambassador and staff are working off-site in Kyiv to ensure their security,” said Jason Kung, spokesman 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 to address issues such as food insecurity and war crimes investigations, he said.
Russian forces launched a missile attack on the Kyiv region on Thursday 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, according to a senior Ukrainian official, Oleksii Hromov.
The attack destroyed one building and damaged two others, he said, and injured 15 people, including civilians.
In June, Russian missiles struck a nine-story apartment building and daycare center in central Kyiv, killing one person and wounding six others, according to Ukrainian officials.
Trudeau paid a surprise visit to Ukraine in May along with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, Secretary of State Melanie Joly and Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine Larisa Galadza and announced the reopening of the embassy.
He raised the Canadian flag over the Kostelna Street compound and said the ambassador would be back at her post in a few days.
However, the embassy’s iron doors were closed this week, with a padlocked sign indicating that it has “suspended operations due to the security situation”.
In fact, Global Affairs Canada says that although Ottawa has re-established a diplomatic presence in Ukraine, diplomatic personnel are not working at the embassy for security reasons.
Earlier this month, the Canada Visa Application Center in Lviv reopened for appointments to help Ukrainians apply for Canada visas.
However, consular and immigration services will be provided from Poland and other European countries “until further notice,” ministry spokesman Jason Kung said.
“We continue to consider sending personnel to Kyiv,” he said, adding Canada looks forward to gradually restoring Canada’s full diplomatic presence and services as soon as possible.
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