Last year, Yuliya Kovaliv was appointed ambassador and diplomat just before Russia attacked Ukraine. Since then, the Ukrainian ambassador to Canada has worked tirelessly to secure aid for her nation while caring for her family, whom she left behind. According to the ambassador in an interview with The Duty, military support for Ukraine is still urgently needed as the 12-month mark of the conflict approaches and as Russia launches a new onslaught. It must safeguard not only democracy in Europe but also everywhere else.
In the Ukrainian Embassy in Ottawa, Yuliya Kovaliv declares, “We are approaching a year. A year of Ukrainian struggle.” The Ukrainian flag is placed next to the maple leaf on the meeting table to stir up national pride and denounce Russian aggression. The porcelain rooster discovered intact in the centre of the ruins and has come to represent resistance is shown on the golden brooch pinned to the ambassador’s jacket.
During the 2014 revolution, Yuliya Kovaliv started her career in civil society and later moved into the government before joining President Volodymyr Zelensky’s cabinet. She was appointed ambassador to Canada on March 9, 2022, two weeks after the initial bombs. She was 37 years old.
She struggles to find the right words to explain her first assignment as a diplomat stationed in a period of conflict over a year later. According to Ms Kovaliv, who says she has “learned a lot more about military matters” in the process than she ever imagined, this is “one of the most important jobs I’ve ever had because it’s a position — and I’ve set myself this goal — where you can help your country at the most important time in its modern history.”
What options are available to our allies? If you don’t stand with Ukrainians who defend the principles we all hold dear, what will become of the world?
Yet, the ambassador consults with her colleagues each morning before beginning this work. The sirens that have rung throughout Ukraine during the night to warn her of imminent strikes are listed on her phone by this programme. “Parents, grandparents, friends who remain in the nation, or even the husband of an employee who is compelled to remain there like hundreds of other Ukrainian men, are all people we occasionally phone to check in on.
A bogus dispute about climbing
Yuliya Kovaliv, the ambassador, said in front of her notepad as she collected messages from Kyiv for the ‘West: “We must be able not only to resist a potential Russian offensive but also to carry out offensive operations as well and repel them.” The new Russian offensive, which many anticipated in the spring, is already taking shape.
She continues that the millions of people who live under occupation and our territory must be freed, and we require these weapons. “And the quicker we can liberate these areas and end the war, the more generous and quick this military help will be. »
At best, this Kyiv objective still needs to be revised. According to military chiefs and academics, no one dares to forecast the fight’s outcome, who believe it might last for years.
The European Union and NATO nations have long hesitated to give the Ukrainians deadly weapons. But over the past 12 months, the ambassador has changed. Sending in tanks was unimaginable six months ago, but it became a reality last month. She also acknowledges Canada’s assistance. There is a tight bond between the two nations. After Russia, Canada is home to the second-largest Ukrainian diaspora.
The Americans and the Germans are refusing Kyiv’s request for fighter jets from its allies. France and Britain were more receptive to the notion, although with certain restrictions.
Mélanie Joly, Canada’s foreign minister, remained silent this week following her visit to Kyiv. She added that President Zelensky has not made a “direct request” but that Canada is “always ready to help more” and thinks that “Ukrainian airspace must be secured much more.”
Deploying fighter jets would only be beneficial once Ukrainian forces had had time to receive pilot training.
Despite this, Ambassador Kovaliv insists, “We want to win the war.” “Wherever people believe in democracy, freedom, human rights, and the freedom to have their own culture and language, it is vital for Ukraine and the entire world.
“There is no concrete link,” responds Mme Kovaliv, asserting that Russia is attempting to use any justification to justify escalating the conflict. However, Western nations are wary of possibly taking a step that would escalate the Western and Russian conflicts. “What options are available to our allies? If you don’t stand with Ukrainians who defend the principles we all hold dear, what will become of the world?
Kyiv uses this urgency to promote its membership in NATO just as vigorously. “But even after the triumph, Yuliya Kovaliv contends, Ukraine must be a member of NATO because we must all realise that Russia will continue to be Ukraine’s neighbour, which is the most excellent way to secure Europe.
Oleg Stepanov refuses to fear the military reinforcements sent to Ukraine and insists they will not change anything on the battlefield. “When the West sends more weapons, it prolongs not only the conflict, but also the suffering of the Ukrainians,” Mr Stepanov claims in an interview with The duty. “When the West sends more weapons, it worsens the situation for the Ukrainians.”
A new normal, despite the threat
According to Ambassador Kovaliv, the Ukrainian people have never caved in to dread for a year. “Within minutes of the first explosions and sounds of the Russian invasion, the fear subsided.
Yet, the weeks after the fighting began on February 24, millions of Ukrainians left the nation. The ambassador responds that thousands of them have subsequently returned. The hum of generators powering cafes and restaurants has helped Kyiv’s streets revert to some routine.
I wouldn’t say that people adapt, but I would say that they fight terror and violence. “When the sirens go off, they sometimes spend hours in basements or shelters, yet they still survive and fight.
At Christmas, his two children asked him for plane tickets to return to Kyiv; the trip will happen when the ambassador can take a brief vacation. This is the new normal Yuliya Kovaliv must deal with in her family. “Although it isn’t daily life there, people can still find aspects of everyday wartime life. It has to. We must continue to live.
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