(OTTAWA) Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly has touted the recent crackdown on corruption in Ukraine led by the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Following a two-day visit to Ukraine, Minister Joly told reporters on Thursday that she had repeatedly raised Canada’s concerns about corruption in that country, including during meetings with President Zelensky and other senior Ukrainian officials.
“I raised the issue,” she said. As Ukrainians fight for more freedoms so they can live in a democracy, it is important that the values that underpin democracy are protected. »
Mr. Zelensky was elected in 2019 on an anti-system and anti-corruption platform, in a country long plagued by corruption.
As Western allies funnel billions of dollars into the country’s coffers to help it fight Moscow’s troops, President Zelensky has made changes in a number of high-level positions in recent weeks, in response to corruption allegations.
Several senior Ukrainian officials, including top governors, lost their jobs last month. We learned this week that the Ukrainian Minister of Defense, Oleksii Reznikov, was about to leave office. In the end, three of his assistants were replaced.
Minister Joly said she had also raised Canada’s concerns about corruption with the president’s top adviser, as well as with Attorney General and Minister of Internal Affairs Ihor Klymenko, who is responsible for the police force. from the country.
Mme Joly said Canada was “very pleased with the fact that while they are focused on defending their sovereignty and territorial integrity, they are able to pursue these democratic reforms and fight corruption.”
Heavy weapons expected
The minister also pointed out that Canada was pressuring other allies to provide more heavy weapons to Ukraine, as promises of massive tank shipments have not yet materialized.
Canada, for its part, quickly donated four Leopard 2 tanks, all of which are now in Europe. But while several European countries, as well as the United States and Britain, have made similar pledges, the numbers so far have fallen short of Kyiv’s expectations.
During his visit, Mr.me Joly announced how 18.2 million earmarked last June for Ukraine will be allocated to local groups.
The minister also traveled to Brovary, a suburb of Kyiv, where senior officials had lost their lives in a helicopter crash, which was not attributed to Russia.
Ottawa tried to keep Ms.’s visit a secret.me Joly for security reasons, but President Zelensky released a video of his meeting with Canada’s foreign minister on Tuesday.
During her visit, the Minister also spoke with the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, about support for women victims of sexual violence and she announced a payment of 3 million to help local groups working to stabilize the country.
Mme Joly visited Canadian-funded projects, such as a demining program run by the HALO Trust, a non-governmental humanitarian organization, and pledged continued Canadian contributions for mine clearance.
This visit by the Canadian Minister to Ukraine is the second since the Russian invasion almost a year ago; Mme Joly had also visited this country as Minister of Foreign Affairs in January 2022.
MPs on the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee are due to leave soon for a tour of countries neighboring Ukraine to compare responses to the Russian invasion.