It has since been revealed that embassy leaders were instructed not to inform Ukrainian employees of the threat that those working for western embassies would likely be included on Russia's hit list.
According to the Globe and Mail, three Canadians employed at the embassy said that in January, diplomats at the embassy in Kyiv received notice that Russia was preparing to invade Ukraine.
They explained that along with the notice of an imminent invasion, diplomats were informed of a Russian hit list, which was said to include Ukrainians who worked for western embassies.
On February 12, Canadian employees left Kyiv for western Ukraine, and eventually ended up in Poland. Requests from Ukrainian employees to join them were denied by Ottawa, who instead instructed them to shelter at home.
News of the invasion and potential hit list was passed down to Canadian employees prior to the evacuation, while their Ukrainian colleagues were left in the dark.
As the Globe and Mail reports, employees raised concerns about the situation, but were told by two senior Global Affairs civil servants that Canada had no "duty of care" for local workers.
The duty Canada has to local employees at its embassies has changed over the years.
During the withdrawal from Vietnam, for example, while other western governments helped evacuate Vietnamese staff, Canada chose to move "souvenirs and cars," leaving locals behind.
In 2021, however, Ottawa made sure to assist Afghan employees after the Canadian embassy in Kabul was forced by the Taliban to evacuate.
Ukrainian employees, who allegedly found out about the hit list via connections at the US embassy, expressed their frustration with the Trudeau government, wondering why they had been left behind in spite of the threats they faced.
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