Canada names new Ukraine ambassador as country marks hard-fought independence

Click to play video: 'Canada will support Ukraine ‘for as long as it takes’: Trudeau'
Canada will support Ukraine ‘for as long as it takes’: Trudeau
WATCH: Canada will support Ukraine 'for as long as it takes': Trudeau – Jul 12, 2023

Canada named a new ambassador to Ukraine on Thursday, an announcement that coincides with the embattled nation’s annual independence celebration as it fights to beat back the 18-month-old Russian invasion.

Natalka Cmoc, a Ukrainian speaker who has had postings in the country related to human rights and security programming, has “deep connections to the Ukrainian community in Ukraine and in Canada,” the Canadian government said in a statement announcing her appointment.

“She will serve as Canada’s eyes and ears in Kyiv, and ensure that Canada is able to continue to support Ukraine through this difficult time and for the long term,” the statement from Global Affairs Canada said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly congratulated Cmoc in a statement and thanked her predecessor, Larisa Galadza, who has held the post since 2019.

“Thank you Larisa for representing Canadians and for always standing up for what is right,” Joly said on social media.

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Cmoc served as a counsellor at the Ukrainian embassy from 2011 to 2013, working on democracy and human rights programming.

In 2014, she worked to establish Canada’s first security programming operations in Ukraine following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and supported the launch of Operation UNIFIER, the Canadian military’s training program for Ukraine’s armed forces.

Joly said that work will “be an asset” as Cmoc takes on the ambassadorship.

More recently, Cmoc has held postings in other government ministries, including defence and Indigenous services. She was most recently a director general at Public Services and Procurement Canada, where she handled infrastructure and modernization in the parliamentary precinct.

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Ukraine is facing massive infrastructure and rebuilding challenges that will last for years when it is able to recover from Russia’s ongoing invasion.

Click to play video: 'Russia renews missile attacks on key Ukrainian infrastructure'
Russia renews missile attacks on key Ukrainian infrastructure

Earlier Thursday, Joly hosted Ukrainian ambassador to Canada Yuliya Kovaliv and other foreign envoys at Global Affairs Canada headquarters to mark Independence Day of Ukraine, where support for the country amid the war was a key topic.

Ottawa says it is gearing up for a diplomatic push on multiple continents to get the world to endorse Kyiv’s vision of an end to the war, through a plan that includes a full restoration of all Ukraine’s territory and a war-crimes tribunal.

During the event, Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged Canada to use its “diplomatic muscle” to help gather support for Ukraine’s peace plan.

Kuleba also used his video address to call on Ottawa to increase its anti-landmine support and extend military funding beyond the next year, according to a Canadian Press report on the closed-door breakfast.

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Joly said Ottawa would reveal more in the coming days, but she appeared open to Ukraine’s call for a long-term military commitment, while explicitly stating Canada will support the peace plan.

The breakfast was attended by the top envoys for several European countries, as well as states that haven’t outright condemned Russia for the invasion, such as India, South Africa and Nigeria.

—With files from the Canadian Press

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