As the Canadian Embassy in Ukraine adjusts to a new normal in the country, Ambassador Larisa Galadza says nothing could have stopped Russian President Vladimir Putin from launching his war against Ukraine.
“He didn’t believe the story. He wasn’t logical. He wasn’t rational. He’s not rational. So, I don’t know how you prevent that,” Galadza said in an interview on Rosemary Barton live broadcast on Sunday.
Western countries are reopening their embassies in Ukraine after many people were evacuated in preparation for the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February. This invasion had long been warned by the American intelligence services.
Galadza noted the sanctions Canada had in place against Russia since its illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its military training mission, saying, “I don’t think anyone can stop Putin from doing what Putin did.”
She argued that it was beneficial for Canada’s diplomatic mission to move to Poland at the start of the war, as it was better able to help coordinate the response to the intense humanitarian crisis caused by the invasion.
The Canadian embassy in Kyiv reopened last weekend during a surprise trip by Trudeau to the wartime capital. Galadaza said his outfit, like other Western embassies, was resuming operations “one step at a time”.
She said it was good to be back in the city and able to engage in “classic diplomacy” and one-on-one meetings.
“But it’s also definitely different. The city isn’t full of life as usual. And there are barricades. There are sandbags in front of the main buildings…it’s just a juxtaposition from the very normal with the extremely abnormal,” she said.
Canada’s consular presence remains the strongest in Poland, she noted.
Galadza also described the destruction she witnessed around Kyiv, including her visit to Irpin.
“It’s big. It’s a whole town destroyed.”
Finnish NATO offers ‘win-win’: ex-PM
As Western embassies step up operations in the country, another diplomatic push is underway as Finland officially announces its intention to join the NATO alliance, with a similar announcement likely from Sweden after its party in power backed the idea on Sunday.
Both countries have long adopted a policy of neutrality, but this stance was shattered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dimitri Peskov said the decision “cannot fail to cause our regrets and is a reason for corresponding symmetrical responses from our side.”
But in an interview with CNN on Sunday, Finland’s president said a conversation he had with Vladimir Putin was “calm and cool”, although the latter called the change a “mistake”.
Finland’s former prime minister Alexander Stubb, who served as the country’s head of government from 2014 to 2015 and served in various cabinet positions, including foreign minister, said Barton Finland’s candidacy was ” win-win”, strengthening both parties.
“You could say it’s Putin’s NATO expansion,” he said. “I guess I should thank him.”
Stubb said he had long been in favor of Finland joining NATO, calling for a mix of “idealism and realism in our security policy, which means that on the one hand we cooperate with Russia, but on the other side we get all the security”. that we can.”
Opinion polls in Finland suggest that public approval of NATO membership has changed dramatically, with a strong majority now in favour.
Stubb also suggested that Russia’s response was more muted than he could have imagined.
“I think the reaction from Russia has actually been quite subdued, quite calm. And in that sense, I’m surprised there hasn’t been tougher language,” he told Barton. .
“We think it’s just good for the overall balance of security in the region. Russia knows we’re not going to attack them.”
Trudeau said Canada was in favor of Finland and Sweden joining, as was the United States. Turkey expressed reservations, but Stubb said he did not believe they would maintain that position.
You can watch full episodes of Rosemary Barton Live on CBC Gem, CBC’s streaming service.