Canada will temporarily pull out all remaining non-essential staff from its embassy in Ukraine due to the threat of a Russian invasion of the beleaguered country, the federal government announced Sunday.
The government said it fears for the safety of its staff with 100,000 Russian troops massed on Ukraine’s border and Western allies threatening reprisals if Russia invades. Some non-essential embassy personnel and children of staff under the age of 18 were called back to Canada on Jan. 25 and Sunday’s move brings the rest home.
“Canada has made the decision to temporarily withdraw non-essential Canadian employees and remaining dependents from the Canadian embassy in Ukraine,” Global Affairs Canada announced in a statement sent to Anadolu Agency. “As we continue to closely monitor the situation, our highest priority remains the safety and security of Canadians.”
However, personnel specialists will be sent to the embassy.
“As announced earlier this week, Canada will be reinforcing the team at the Canadian Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine with officials with expertise in areas such as security sector reform, conflict management, democratic reform, consular services and diplomacy,” the statement said. “Together, they will increase our diplomatic capacity and allow us to continue to assess and respond to the evolving situation in support of Ukraine.”
The Canadian embassy will not be closed, the government said.
“Our officials stand ready to provide consular assistance to Canadian citizens, as required,” the statement said. “Canadians in need of assistance can contact the embassy by telephone at 380 (44) 590 3100 or by email at KYIV-Consular@international.gc.ca.”
The tense standoff has also prompted other countries to withdraw staff from their embassies in Ukraine.
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