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Canadian statement on new Yerevan embassy sparks Russian ire

5 July 2022

The Canadian government’s decision to open an embassy in Armenia and the Canadian Foreign Minister’s statement about ‘countering’ Russia were met with harsh words from the Kremlin. 

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly announced the country’s decision to open its first embassy in the South Caucasus, as well as four others in Eastern Europe, last week.

A press release from the Canadian Foreign Ministry describes the move as one that will help Ottawa ‘counter Russia’s destabilising activities’. 

‘This diplomatic expansion will help guide Canada’s response to evolving security threats, enhance political and economic cooperation to support European Allies, and further counter the impacts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and support Armenia in its democratic development’, the press release reads. 

It further goes on to quote Joly who states that the decision came as a result of ‘Russia’s illegal, unjustifiable and horrific invasion of Ukraine’ which has ‘changed the security and diplomatic landscape in Europe’. 

‘The changes announced today will help ensure that we have the tools we need to reinforce Armenian democracy and address some of the greatest security and diplomatic challenges of our time’, Joly is quoted as saying. 

The Russian Embassy in Yerevan reacted sharply to the statement, slamming it as ‘overtly arrogant’ and ‘dismissive’ toward a state [Armenia] with which Canada seeks to ‘strengthen bilateral ties’. 

‘One cannot but wonder how such a line will affect the well-being and security of the Armenian people’, the embassy’s response reads. 

After the publication of the Canadian Foreign Ministry’s press release, Melanie Joy tweeted that Canada was ‘increasing its footprint’ in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and Armenia so as to ‘push back on Russian influence’. 

Shortly thereafter she deleted the tweet and later made two separate tweets for Armenia and the other countries, respectively. The tweet concerning Armenia excluded any mention of a ‘push back’ against Russia. 

The Armenian Foreign Ministry welcomed the plans to open a Canadian embassy in Yerevan, with Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan calling it ‘another milestone in progressively developing Armenian-Canadian relations’.

Armenia, despite being a close ally of Russia and being highly dependent on it both economically and militarily, refrained from expressing a position on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with government officials remaining silent or sharing neutral statements regarding the situation.

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