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Canada warns against all travel to Russia: Leave while ‘means are still available’

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Canada is now advising its citizens to avoid all travel to Russia as the country continues its invasion of Ukraine.

The advisory also urges those in Russia to leave while commercial means are still available.

It notes sanctions and “Russian retaliation” may have an impact on the availability of essential services.

Read more: Partial ceasefire collapses as Ukraine, Russia trade blame over civilian evacuations

“Flight availability is becoming extremely limited,” the advisory reads.

Aeroflot, Russia’s flagship carrier and largest airline, says that starting Tuesday it will halt all international flights except to Belarus. Russia’s aviation agency, Rosaviatsiya, has recommended that all Russian airlines with foreign-leased planes suspend both passenger and cargo flights abroad.

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In addition to limited flights, Russia is also cracking down on free speech related to the Ukraine invasion.

On March 4, the country introduced a new law that targets journalists, which the Kremlin claims are publishing “fake news.” Journalists determined to be breaking that law could end up in jail for 15 years.

Canada warns that since the law came into effect, individuals may be detained for sharing or publishing information that local authorities deem false, may be detrimental to Russia’s army or are in support of sanctions against Russia.

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CBC, BBC, CNN and Bloomberg have since stopped reporting from within Russia due to the new law.

The travel advisory advises Canadians in Russia to abstain from “discussing the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” sharing or publishing information related to it or participating in demonstrations and large gatherings.

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“Security conditions are unpredictable and could deteriorate without notice,” the advisory reads.

“The ability of our Embassy to provide consular services in Russia may become severely limited.”

Read more: CBC, CNN, BBC suspend reporting in Russia as journalists now at risk of jail

The advisory says those who do stay may be in Russia longer than expected, may face shortages of essential products and services, and may not be able to use bank cards for payments or withdraw funds.

It says Canadians should not rely on the Government of Canada to help them leave Russia.

It also suggests those in Russia follow the instructions of local authorities, have a supply of cash and medicine on hand, make sure travel documents are up-to-date and register contact information through the Registration of Canadians Abroad service.

The U.S. updated its travel advisory for Russia to “do not travel” on Saturday, as well.

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