Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly will make a high-stakes visit to Ukraine next week as the country faces an increased threat of invasion by Russian forces.
Joly’s office said the six-day trip was intended to “reaffirm Canada’s unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Joly plans to meet Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishyna in Kyiv. She is also expected to visit Canadian troops stationed in Ukraine to support the local army.
“The accumulation of Russian troops and equipment in and around Ukraine jeopardizes security throughout the region. Such aggressive actions must be deterred,” Joly said in a press release.
“Canada will work with its international partners to uphold the rules-based international order and preserve the human rights and dignity of Ukrainians.
The Kremlin has mustered more than 100,000 troops along its border with Ukraine, prompting warnings that Russian President Vladimir Putin could launch an invasion in the coming weeks.
US intelligence officials said Friday that Russia was preparing the ground for a possible invasion.
The warning came after Ukraine accused Russia of a cyberattack on its government websites.
Canada has pledged to support measures to deter a possible attack, including sanctions against Russia.
Joly will also meet the foreign ministers of France and Belgium during stops in Paris and Brussels.
Joly will leave on Sunday January 16 and plans to return on January 22.