VIDEO ABOVE: Amateur footage of overnight clashes in Kyiv
TORONTO – Canada has temporarily closed its embassy in Ukraine’s capital as violence between riot police and protesters continues in the heart of the city, leading to more than two dozen deaths in the past two days.
Canada has “unequivocally” condemned the violence in Ukraine, and Ottawa has pledged to provide further assistance to make medical care available for Ukrainian activists.
Emergency consular services are still available, said Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s press secretary Adam Hodge. In an email to Global News, Hodge said Canadians needing consular services should call 380 (44) 590-3100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The consulate in Lviv remains open, which is about 540 km west of Kyiv. Canadians can also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 00-1-613-996-8885 (collect calls are accepted).
Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed the embassy closed Tuesday afternoon after a number of demonstrators sought refuge in the embassy.
VIDEO: The deadly clashes in Ukraine’s capital drew sharp reactions from US and European leaders on Wednesday and sparked a rapidly growing push for European Union sanctions.
An earlier report in Russian media cited an official with Ukraine’s Ministry of the Interior alleging the protesters had attacked the embassy, but Hodge said Wednesday those who entered the Canadian embassy yesterday were “peaceful and have not caused any damage to the premises or harmed staff.”
Hodge said the protesters entered to “escape the government’s violence against protesters” and expects them to be able to leave the embassy safely when the situation improves.
At least 25 people were reportedly killed on Monday, while hundreds more were injured.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced Monday evening the Canadian government would provide medical supplies to opposition groups that have been protesting against the government for the past three months.
“This urgent medical relief will ensure that treatment is provided to the courageous activists injured while speaking out peacefully in support of democracy,” he said.
Baird called on both sides to show restraint, but also said President Viktor Yanukovich has “a solemn responsibility to protect the fundamental right to peaceful assembly.”
With files from The Associated Press