Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly will make a high-stakes visit to Ukraine next week as the country faces a heightened threat of invasion by Russian forces.
Joly’s office said the six-day trip is to “reaffirm Canada’s steadfast support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Joly plans to meet in Kyiv with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishyna. She’s also expected to visit Canadian troops stationed in Ukraine to support the local military.
“The amassing of Russian troops and equipment in and around Ukraine jeopardizes security in the entire region. These aggressive actions must be deterred,” Joly said in a media statement.
“Canada will work with its international partners to uphold the rules-based international order and preserve the human rights and dignity of Ukrainians.”
The Kremlin has amassed more than 100,000 troops along its border with Ukraine, prompting warnings that Russian President Vladimir Putin may launch an invasion in the coming weeks.
U.S. intelligence officials said Friday that Russia is laying the groundwork for a possible invasion.
That warning came after Ukraine blamed Russia for a cyberattack on its government websites.
Canada has pledged to support measures to deter a possible attack, including sanctions against Russia.
Joly will also meet with the foreign affairs ministers for France and Belgium during stops in Paris and Brussels.
Joly will leave on Sunday, January 16 and plans to return on Jan. 22.
Source: CBC, January 15, 2022.