Minister Joly visits Ukraine to launch initiative to return Ukrainian children and advance negotiations on long-term security commitments

News release

February 2, 2024 – Kyiv (Ukraine) - Global Affairs Canada 

With Russia’s full-scale illegal invasion of Ukraine nearing the end of its second year, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that she is visiting Kyiv, Ukraine, on February 2-3, 2024. This will be her fourth trip to Ukraine since the beginning of 2022.

While in Kyiv, Minister Joly will reaffirm Canada’s unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. This support has included more than $9.7 billion in aid to Ukraine, including over $2.4 billion in military aid, from armoured vehicles, to artillery ammunition to Leopard 2 tanks. Minister Joly will reiterate Canada’s commitment to supporting Ukraine is steadfast. Just as we have been since day one, Canada will continue to be there to support Ukraine’s fight for freedom through to the end of the war and beyond.

Minister Joly will join Andriy Yermak, Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, to launch the International Coalition for the Return of Ukrainian Children, a joint Canada-Ukraine initiative to help address the issue of the unlawful deportation and forced transfer of Ukrainian children by the Russian government. She will announce how Canada will work with Ukraine and coalition members to coordinate efforts, raise awareness of this issue and advocate for the return of children to Ukraine with partners from around the globe. Minister Joly will also announce that as part of this initiative, Canada will offer practical expertise, with Canadian officials ready to assist their Ukrainian counterparts should they express a need for technical expertise and resources.

Even after the war, Ukraine will be next-door to a dangerous neighbour. To help deter Russian aggression and threats of future re-invasion, Canada will provide long-term bilateral security commitments to Ukraine alongside our G7 partners. While in Kyiv, Minister Joly will meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba, to advance important negotiations on these commitments.

Minister Joly will also meet with families and children who have been impacted by the war as well as local organizations who support victims of conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence and war-related trauma.


“Children can not be used as pawns in war. In their faces, we see our humanity and Canada is proud to lead the effort alongside Ukraine to ensure their return home to Ukraine. I am also looking forward to meeting with President Zelenskyy and my friend, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, to advance the work towards a Canada-Ukraine long-term bilateral security commitment. Canada is a proud friend of Ukraine and our message to Ukrainians is simple: we are not going anywhere.”

- Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs 

Quick facts

  • Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, thousands of Ukrainian children have been deported, forcibly transferred, or otherwise displaced from the territory of Ukraine to the temporarily occupied territories and Russia and Belarus to erase their identity. As of right now, less than 400 of them have been returned to Ukraine and reunited with their families. 

  • Canada has already sanctioned over 50 individuals and more than 10 entities who have been involved in the deportation of Ukrainian children and who are therefore violating their human rights. 

  • Since 2014, Canada has imposed sanctions on more than 2,800 individuals and entities in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova that are complicit in the violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Many of these sanctions have been undertaken in coordination with Canada’s allies and partners. 

  • Since January 2022, Canada has committed more than $9.7 billion to financial, military, humanitarian, development and immigration assistance for Ukraine. 

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