During the uprising of winter 2014 that led to the impeachment of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, the Canadian Embassy in Kyiv has unwittingly served as a refuge for anti-government protesters for several days.
The federal government has never fully recognized to date the scope and extent of the security breach. And even if she has had a significant impact on how Canadians are perceived in the region.
The Canadian Press has spent months reconstruct the chain of events surrounding this extraordinary incident that began Feb. 18, 2014, at the height of the violent repression against pro-European Ukrainian demonstrators.
Several divergent elements have emerged on the occupation of the Canadian Embassy, which was first reported by Russian media as an attack by pro-Russian groups.
According to multiple sources in Kiev and Ottawa, it all started when a protester chased by riot police brandished a Canadian passport Canadian Embassy Security Service in Kiev, located near the place of the Independence (Maidan). Once the doors open, some armed with sticks and cobblestones demonstrators rushed inside.
The current Canadian ambassador to Kiev, Roman Waschuk, recently confirmed the facts The Canadian Press in an interview.
Mr. Waschuk – who replaced Ambassador Troy Lulashnyk in September 2014 – said the protesters had camped in the main hall of the embassy for at least a week, information that neither the Foreign Ministry nor the Government of Stephen Harper have said publicly before.
According to information provided to it, Mr. Waschuk could say that no harm has been caused, adding that protesters had “left flowers by leaving.”
Many places of safety improvements were made as a result of the incident, but according Waschuk ambassador, opening doors was “a gesture to respond and reach out to the population Swept from the Sea. ”
However, some European allies of Canada – which have agreed to provide some context without speaking publicly on this delicate subject – felt that the fact that anti-government protesters are tolerated for so long and they could act with Freedom has published Canada as an active plan for change, and not only as a moral support.
This is undoubtedly the perception had the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, which oversees police operations, the National Guard and the intelligence services.
Two representatives of this Ministry with the matter, who agreed to meet with The Canadian Press provided that their identity not be revealed, stated that a criminal investigation into the actions of the demonstrators had been opened and then quietly dropped after Viktor Yanukovych had fled to Russia.
The two officials described the violence and chaos that reigned outside the embassy. “There was no real obstacle to prevent (the demonstrators) to enter, no real security, reported one of them. Canada sympathized with the protesters at that time, more than the government. ”
The embassy hall was used to treat the wounded during the night of 18 February 2014, before being transferred to hospital by ambulance, despite the acts of violence, including theft of a van by protesters , according to representatives of the Interior Ministry. The vehicle was later found burned, although Ottawa has never acknowledged the facts, they said.
The same day, a spokesman for the Foreign Minister at the time, John Baird, had admitted that the demonstrators were in the building’s reception area. He said they had found “refuge” and were “peaceful and had not caused any damage or harm to personnel.”
After this initial report, it was radio silence. The embassy was closed and remained during the uprising that led to the flight of President Yanukovych to Russia, February 22.