Canada closes embassy in Ukraine, relocates diplomatic staff amid fears of war

Canada has moved embassy staff out of Kyiv, Ukraine ahead of potential military advancement by Russia. Melissa Nakhavoly reports on why U.S. officials say an invasion could be imminent.

By The Canadian Press and Michelle Morton

Canada has shuttered its embassy in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and relocated its diplomatic staff to a temporary office in the western part of the country amid fears of a war with Russia.

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly announced the move Saturday afternoon in a statement that blamed Russia for the deteriorating security situation in Ukraine.

Russia has mobilized 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine and is demanding a series of concessions from the NATO military alliance, which includes Canada.

While Russia has denied wanting a war, diplomatic talks between Moscow and the West have failed to resolve the standoff and NATO leaders have started warning of a conflict in Ukraine.

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Joly announced the closure of the embassy in Kyiv shortly after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

A summary of the conversation from the Prime Minister’s Office said Trudeau emphasized Canada’s support for Ukraine and promised a Russian invasion would be met with economic sanctions.

“Canada’s diplomatic presence and strong engagement in Ukraine will continue. Services for Canadian citizens will also continue to be offered from the temporary office, by appointment only. However, our ability to provide consular assistance could become increasingly limited,” Joly said in the statement.

On Friday, Ottawa advised Canadians in Ukraine to make arrangements to come back, and Joly said citizens should continue to avoid travel to that country.

“We will resume operations at the embassy in Kyiv as soon as the security situation in Ukraine allows us to ensure the adequate delivery of services and guarantee the security of our staff,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the feds are advising Canadians in need of consular assistance in Ukraine to contact Global Affairs’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

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