Canada’s Ambassador to Ukraine Larisa Galadza says that while she’s back working at the embassy in Kyiv, the situation on the ground is still “very surreal,” and that the limited staff present are focused on “face-to-face” diplomacy while most requests for assistance are being told to seek help online.
“There are boarded up windows. The government buildings are sandbagged. There are significant control posts on the roads, a heavily armed presence in the in the capital, and that makes for a very, very surreal environment,” she said in an interview on CTV News Channel’s Power Play.
While Galadza was joined by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, and Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly last weekend to mark the reopening of Canada’s embassy, the services being offered are still very limited.
The ambassador said that for now, operating consular and immigration services out of Poland makes sense because if there is something that Canadian officials can help with, it’s something border-related, such as passports. Otherwise, those looking for help in Kyiv, are being directed to online application forms and email addresses.
Asked what work she is doing at the embassy, Galadza said the limited diplomatic presence at the embassy is there “to do the diplomatic and political work that can only be done direct face-to-face with… Ukrainian interlocutors, with Ukrainian civil society activists, with parliamentarians and ministers and that sort of thing.”
Watch the full interview with Canada’s ambassador in the video at the top of this article.