Minister Melanie Joly meets Zelenskyy in Kiev

Minister Mélanie Joly meets Zelenskyy in Kiev

Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly made a surprise trip to Kiev on Tuesday for an official meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, ten days before the first anniversary of the Russian invasion, Ottawa confirmed in the afternoon.

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“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 during these turbulent times,” said the UATV media account on Twitter, which made the meeting before the Canadian government public.

The release is accompanied by a video of Ms Joly shaking hands with Mr Zelensky, followed by images of the minister and members of her team arguing around a table with their Ukrainian counterparts.

Ms Joly twice thanked President Zelenskyy for “taking the time” to discuss with her and her team.

For his part, Volodymyr Zelensky thanks the representatives of Canada and “the whole Canadian society” for the support given since the beginning of the war in his country almost exactly a year ago.

In a statement on his Telegram channel, the President of Ukraine used the same words as UATV to thank Canada “in these turbulent times”.

“I am grateful to the Canadian government and all Canadian people for their warm attitude towards our people and their strong support for Ukraine!” he wrote.

Ms Joly’s press attaché, Adrien Blanchard, confirmed to the QMI agency that the minister was traveling to the Ukrainian capital, but the details of her trip had to remain confidential for security reasons.

In general, the Canadian government avoids giving details of its ministers’ movements in war zones.

The meeting took place on the eve of the first anniversary of the beginning of the war. On February 24, 2022, Russian forces entered Ukrainian territory for the first time since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Since then, NATO forces have provided billions of dollars in military and financial assistance.

Canadian support to Ukraine now tops $1 billion. In particular, this includes the deployment of four tanks, light vehicles and an advanced anti-aircraft system.