Minister Mélanie Joly meets Zelensky in Kyiv
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly made a surprise trip to Kyiv on Tuesday for an official meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, ten days before the first anniversary of the Russian invasion, Ottawa confirmed in the afternoon.
“President Zelensky and Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly discussed Ukraine's priority defense needs. Further cooperation in the field of security and defense was discussed in detail. Canada's support is invaluable in these turbulent times,” said the UATV media account on Twitter, which made the meeting public before the Canadian government.
The publication is accompanied by a video where the 'we can see Ms. Joly shaking hands with Mr. Zelensky, followed by images of the minister and members of her team chatting with their Ukrainian counterparts around a table.
Mrs. Joly twice thanked President Zelensky for “taking the time” to discuss with her and her team.
For his part, Volodymyr Zelensky thanks the representatives of Canada as well as “the whole of Canadian society” for the support granted since the beginning of the war in his country, almost a year ago exactly.
In a statement on his Telegram channel, the Ukrainian president used much the same words as UATV to thank Canada “in these turbulent times”.
“I am grateful to the Government of Canada and all the Canadian people for their warm attitude towards our people and their powerful assistance to Ukraine!” he wrote.
Ms. Joly's press attaché, Adrien Blanchard, confirmed to QMI Agency that the minister was traveling to the Ukrainian capital, but that the details of her travel were to be kept confidential for security reasons.
Generally, the Canadian government avoids providing details of ministers' travel to war zones.
The meeting took place on the eve of the first anniversary of the start of the war. On February 24, 2022, Russian armed forces entered Ukrainian territory for the first time since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Since then, NATO forces have provided multi-billion dollar military and financial assistance.
Canadian support for Ukraine now exceeds $1 billion. This includes the dispatch of four tanks, light vehicles and an advanced anti-aircraft defense system.