Melanie Joly offers a study on the security of local staff of the Kyiv Embassy


Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly proposes to the Committee of Parliamentarians on National Security and Intelligence to study allegations that Canada has ignored warnings about the safety of locally recruited staff at its embassy in Ukraine before the Russian invasion.

Joly raised the possibility of the study during his appearance before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee today, where MPs focused on Canada’s decision to return a turbine for a pipeline owned by the Russian state that supplies natural gas to Germany.

The Globe and Mail reported this week that in the run-up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Global Affairs Canada received intelligence from Five Eyes that Ukrainians working for Western embassies were likely on lists of people that Moscow intended to hunt down.

Joly told MPs on the committee that she, her political staff and the department had no information on “kill lists” specifically targeting Canadian diplomats and locally hired personnel.

She says she will make herself available to the national security committee, made up of senators and lawmakers with the best security clearances, if they decide to take up the issue.

The Canadian Press has not independently verified the report.

Joly also told MPs that Canada had been “concerned” by intelligence released by the United States earlier this year that Russia planned to target specific Ukrainians in an invasion.

In February, days before Russia began its assault on Ukraine, media reported that the US government had “credible information” about the threats and warned the UN human rights chief .

“It’s very important that we get to the bottom of this,” Joly said as she and Tory MP Garnett Genuis spoke in a heated exchange on Thursday.

“It’s something I take very seriously.”

Later Thursday, Joly released a statement on Twitter that reaffirmed that the National Security Committee would have “my full support and cooperation” if it investigated the matter.

He said locally recruited staff in Ukraine “were kept informed of the evolving security situation as they made decisions to keep their families safe” and immigration pathways to Canada.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 4, 2022.