Canada has appointed a new ambassador to Ukraine. Toronto born Roman Waschuk will become Canada’s ninth diplomatic representative in Kyiv this autumn. He’ll be coming from Belgrade, where he’s served as Canada’s ambassador since 2011, with concurrent accreditation to Macedonia and Montenegro. He speaks English, French, German, Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, and Serbian/Montenegrin.
Mr. Waschuk is no stranger to Ukraine, or the post-Soviet space. After completing his MA in History at the University of Toronto in 1985, he joined the Canadian Foreign Service. His first diplomatic posting with Foreign Affairs, was in the Moscow Embassy in 1988, where he served as political secretary through 1991. We’d grown up together in Toronto and met up again in Moscow in 1991. I’d decided to pursue a PhD, and had gone to Moscow to do archival research. When I couldn’t find housing right away, he and his wife kindly let me use their guest room for a while.
A few years later, in 1994, Mr. Waschuk was appointed Political Counsellor in Canada’s Embassy in Ukraine, where he served until 1998. So we saw each other again since I was living in Kyiv at the time. During those years, Ukraine signed the Budapest Memorandum and adopted a constitution.
After Kyiv there was the usual rotation to Ottawa, where Mr. Waschuk served as Deputy Director of the European Union Division, and the Policy Planning Division. He was then posted to Canada’s Berlin Embassy (2002-2007), as Political Counsellor, then Minister-Counsellor. Back in Ottawa after that, there were positions in the Global Partnership, Biological Non-Proliferation, Stabilization and Reconstruction Programmes. And then the Ambassadorship in Serbia.
We last saw each other in Toronto in late August. I was watching the tail end of the live political talk show Svoboda Slova with Andriy Kulykov, when Roman and his wife stopped by. So they joined me in watching. The then still Ambassador to Serbia recognized the participants in the Ukrainian show. “Didn’t that man work for Tymoshenko?” he asked about one of the experts. “As far as I know, he still does,” I answered.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, made the announcement about new diplomatic appointments last Friday, the 19th of September, a few days after Ukraine’s President Poroshenko had visited Ottawa. With everything else going on, I didn’t see it until the weekend. The same press release said that Martine Moreau became Canada’s new ambassador to Kuwait, and Troy Lulashnyk, who had served in Kyiv, was being sent to be Canada’s ambassador in the Arab Republic of Egypt.