Politics

Freeland says government 'talking about' reopening embassy in Kyiv

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says the government is talking with Ukraine about the possibility of reopening the Canadian embassy in Kyiv, which was shuttered just before Russia invaded.

Embassy was shuttered just prior to Russian invasion in February

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland says she has spoken with the Ukrainian prime minister about the possibility of reopening Canada's embassy in Kyiv. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says the government is talking with Ukraine about the possibility of reopening the Canadian embassy in Kyiv, which was shuttered just before Russia invaded.

Freeland said she spoke with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on Thursday evening about reopening the embassy.

"Prime Minister Shmyhal talked to me about the efforts that the Ukrainian government is making to restore regular life in Kyiv," she told a press conference following meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group in Washington on Friday.

Freeland didn't fully commit Canada to reopening the embassy when pressed by reporters but said "we're talking about it."

WATCH: Freeland discusses whether the Canadian embassy in Kyiv will reopen

Freeland discusses whether the Canadian embassy in Kyiv will reopen

4 months ago
Duration 1:05
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says she is in talks with Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on whether Canada will reopen its embassy in Kyiv.

With Russia now focusing its forces in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, residents have started returning to the Ukrainian capital, though local authorities are concerned that Russia may still strike at Kyiv.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the U.K. plans to reopen its embassy in Ukraine's capital next week. Diplomats from other European nations have returned to Kyiv since Russian troops withdrew from the capital region.

Canada moved some of its diplomatic operations to Lviv in the western part of Ukraine when it closed the Kyiv embassy, but all staff have since been relocated to Poland.

A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada said the government is looking at resuming diplomatic operations in Ukraine but didn't offer a timeline for reopening the embassy.

"We are exploring options to resume operations in Ukraine as soon as the security situation allows us to. Until this time, the temporary suspension of operations at both our embassy and our consulate in Ukraine will continue," the spokesperson said in an email.

Russia's G20 status

During the press conference, Freeland also said Russia should be booted from the G20. She said that was a key topic of discussion during meetings this week of G20 finance ministers and central bankers.

"Russia does not have a place at the table of countries who have come together to maintain global economic prosperity and maintain a global economy governed by rules," she said. "You can't be a poacher and a gamekeeper at the same time."

Freeland hesitated when asked what the process would be to eject Russia from the G20.

Her statement came just days after she and officials from other national governments walked out of a G20 meeting to protest the presence of Russian delegates.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested in March that the G20 should rethink Russia's membership.

With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press

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