NP-UN National Affairs Editor
Ukraine’s longest serving Ambassador to Canada says he welcomes the opportunity to deal again with Canada in his new position as Deputy Minister of Defence for European Integration.
“I am very pleased that I have the opportunity right now to work with Canada in this new capacity. From the defence point of view, I can see how Canadian aid helps both in terms of supplying weapons and in training our fighters and in political support of our NATO aspirations,” Andriy Shevchenko told New Pathway – Ukrainian News by phone, May 11.
In his new position he will be dealing with issues related to NATO, the European Union as well as bilateral relations with other allied countries including Canada.
Shevchenko’s three major goals for defence are victory, NATO membership and establishing the best armed forces on the European continent.
For his portfolio, the top priority is weaponry and military cooperation. He deals with donated weapons. Weapons purchases are dealt with by another deputy minister.
Shevchenko says every Ukrainian ministry is required to have a deputy responsible for European Integration. The scope of the designation may differ with each ministry, but in his case it is a key and substantive component.
He added that in his new capacity he had the opportunity to meet Canada’s Chief of the Defence Staff General Wayne Eyre during his March visit to Ukraine. They discussed the current state of the war in Ukraine, and further bilateral defence cooperation between Ukraine and Canada.
While accompanying Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov, Shevchenko also had an opportunity to meet the Canadian delegation led by Defence Minister Anita Anand during the recent Ramstein meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group.
“As Canada has a special place in my heart, it is a pleasure to see Canada in the leading role on many very practical initiatives to help Ukraine – whether it is the Leopard tank coalition, or supply of armoured vehicles and air-defence systems, or training of Ukrainian soldiers and officers. This means a world to us!” he said.
Shevchenko was appointed as Ambassador to Canada by then-President Petro Poroshenko in 2015 and served under both him and current President Volodymyr Zelenskyy until 2021 establishing his as the dean of European Ambassadors to Canada at the time.
A former journalist, he was one of the founders and head of the Kyiv Independent Media Trade Union and was also one of the founders of the news-based 5 Kanal TV. In 2005, he was appointed vice president of the National Television Company of Ukraine, where he was in charge of information policy. He was twice elected to parliament in 2006 and 2012.
While still a student in the 1990s he served as a correspondent for Edmonton-based Ukrainian News which merged with New Pathway in 2017.