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Canada relocates diplomatic staff in Ukraine amid mounting Russian threats

Click to play video: 'Americans and Canadians urged to leave Ukraine over fears of Russian invasion' Americans and Canadians urged to leave Ukraine over fears of Russian invasion
WATCH: Americans and Canadians urged to leave Ukraine over fears of Russian invasion – Feb 12, 2022

Canada’s diplomatic staff has been relocated to a temporary office in Lviv, Ukraine after operations at the Canadian embassy in Kyiv got suspended, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly.

“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,” said Joly in a statement Saturday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that Canada is “standing firm” with Western nations and is prepared to impose “severe costs” if Russia decides to invade Ukraine.
Click to play video: 'Canada urges citizens out of Ukraine, as U.S. warns Russian invasion could begin ‘at any time’' Canada urges citizens out of Ukraine, as U.S. warns Russian invasion could begin ‘at any time’
Canada urges citizens out of Ukraine, as U.S. warns Russian invasion could begin ‘at any time’ – Feb 11, 2022

Read more: Many Canadians still need to leave Ukraine as Russian threats mount: official

His comment came in the wake of reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to invade Ukraine — and has communicated that decision to the Russian military.

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Russia has been building up its forces near Ukraine for weeks, with well over 100,000 troops lined along the border.

Click to play video: 'Russia-Ukraine standoff: U.S. says possible invasion could include ‘rapid assault’ on Kyiv' Russia-Ukraine standoff: U.S. says possible invasion could include ‘rapid assault’ on Kyiv
Russia-Ukraine standoff: U.S. says possible invasion could include ‘rapid assault’ on Kyiv – Feb 11, 2022

Joly said services for Canadian citizens will continue to be offered from the temporary office, by appointment only.

However, she stressed that their ability to provide consular assistance could become increasingly limited.

“As always, our priority in these situations is ensuring the safety and security of all Canadians on the ground. Canadians should continue to avoid all travel to Ukraine. We urge those currently in Ukraine to leave now,” said Joly.

There are currently 793 Canadians registered with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service in Ukraine, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but since registration with the service is voluntary, the actual number of Canadians in Ukraine is unknown.

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— with files from Global’s Rachel Gilmore and Alex Boutilier 

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