Canada withdraws non-essential staff from Ukraine Embassy

Department of Foreign Affairs says ‘our top priority remains the safety and security of Canadians’

Canada announced on Sunday it would withdraw non-essential employees and dependents from its embassy in Kyiv as tensions escalate between Russia and the West over Ukraine.

“As we continue to monitor the situation closely, our top priority remains the safety and security of Canadians,” the Canadian foreign ministry said in a statement.

Although Ottawa is withdrawing a number of its employees, the departure should not interrupt the operations of the installation – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained that the embassy always remains open and ready to help Canadian citizens.

The ministry added that the facility will be further bolstered by “officials with expertise in areas such as security sector reform, conflict management, democratic reform, consular services and diplomacy.”

“Together, they will increase our diplomatic capacity and allow us to continue to assess and respond to developments in support of Ukraine.”

Video poster

Ottawa’s announcement follows a similar decision by the United States last week – on Wednesday the US State Department urged its citizens still in Ukraine to “consider leaving now” due to the situation of unpredictable security there.

On Monday, Washington also approved the voluntary departure option for its government employees in Ukraine and ordered relatives of US embassy employees in Kyiv to leave the country immediately.

Michelle J. Kelley