job interview | Russia ‘is not having the expected success’

Yulia Kovaliv hasn’t slept much since arriving in the country about three months ago. Because the ambassador of Ukraine in Ottawa wakes up “almost every night” when the air raid siren app is spit in her ear trivoga (“Alarm”, in Ukrainian). “This is the city where my parents live. There are no warnings so everything is fine,” she said, pointing to her phone’s screen. So place in an interview conducted on Friday, of which here is the report.

Posted at 5:00 am

Melanie Marchese

Melanie Marchese
The press

(Ottawa) Russian diplomats in Canada

Kiev’s mission chief rolls her eyes when she hears the name of Oleg Stepanov. “I never met him. And I hope never to meet him either,” she says of her Russian counterpart in Ottawa. She greets the G7 and European Union countries that have expelled Russian diplomats. “It’s a great thing and it’s an important thing because diplomacy also means building relationships of trust,” she said. The Trudeau government has defied calls, including those by the Ukrainian ambassador and the Conservative Party, to send Russian diplomats home after the invasion began in late February.

Canadian sanctions

The announcement of a new tranche of Canadian sanctions targeting individuals and entities in the Russian propaganda machine is welcomed by Yulia Kovaliv. “When the war started, I think I realized how much the world had underestimated the power of Russian propaganda. Information is a very powerful weapon and Russia understands that very well,” she pleads while sitting in a room at the Ukrainian embassy in Ottawa. Actors targeted by the sanctions include Sumbatovich Gasparyan, head of the international department at state media company Russia Today (RT).

Russia and the G20

The ambassador pauses for a few seconds before finding the right word. “Unacceptable”. It would be unacceptable for Vladimir Putin to attend the G20 meeting in Bali next November. “There is no place for a country that is committing food terrorism and energy terrorism at a table where other countries are discussing economic development,” she decides, not before allowing herself to be mocked by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who avoided summit meetings his G20 colleagues on Friday and left early. “He left the G20 pretty quickly I think, right? ‘ she says with a smile.


Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, meets with his G20 colleagues on Friday

The Ukrainian Marshall Plan

Even if rockets are still raining in the Ukrainian sky, we are already thinking about reconstruction. The price ? At least 750 billion in 10 years, said President Volodymyr Zelenskyj a few days ago during the Lugano conference on Ukraine’s reconstruction. “There are cities and entire regions that have been destroyed. The heaviest part of 250 billion would be spent on housing – Russia brutally attacked the housing,” explains Kovaliv, economist. At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed on Thursday that he had “not yet started serious things” in Ukraine. The ambassador is not very impressed: “Look, we all know that he planned to take control of Ukraine in 24 hours, 36 hours, then 72 hours. And now we see that the so-called second army in the world is focusing all its energy on Ukraine… and that it is not having the expected success. »

NATO’s dream

The plan to join the politico-military alliance has not faded, says Yulia Kovaliv, who worked as deputy chief of staff in President Zelensky’s office before arriving in Canada. “We believe that NATO’s open door policy to Ukraine is still valid. The approval of Sweden’s and Finland’s applications for membership is a historic moment and an example of this open-door policy. The plan to join NATO is in our constitution, as is joining the European Union,” she says, pleased that Ukraine’s entry into the European bloc is a matter of weeks, not months.


Yulia Kovaliv consults the alert application that warns her about airstrikes in Ukraine.

The Turbine of Discord

A turbine built at Siemens Energy’s Dorval plant and blocked, preventing the operation of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, is currently at the center of a dispute between Germany and Canada. The Russian state-owned company Gazprom cannot bring him back because he is subject to sanctions from Ottawa. Ukraine is calling on Canada to ensure “respect for the current sanctions regime,” stresses the ambassador, who is starting French classes and hopes to be able to converse in Molière’s language within a few months.

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