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Canadians urged to leave Russia as dual citizens prone to Putin’s draft, Ottawa warns

Click to play video: 'More Russians flee country as Putin drafts farmers into military'
More Russians flee country as Putin drafts farmers into military
WATCH: More Russians flee country as Putin drafts farmers into military – Sep 27, 2022

Canadians living in Russia who hold dual citizenship should leave the nation while they can as Vladimir Putin mobilizes troops for his war in Ukraine.

The warning from Ottawa rings similar to that coming from United States, which on Wednesday advised its dual citizens to leave the country as Russia calls up 300,000 soldiers to fight in the seven-month-long conflict with Ukraine.

“Russia does not recognize dual-citizenship and that dual citizens may be subject to certain legal obligations, including military service,” a Global Affairs Canada (GAC) spokesperson told Global News Wednesday night.

“Dual citizens may be detained, imprisoned, or fined large sums if they try to avoid military service.”

Read more: Putin orders partial mobilization of Russian troops as Ukraine wages counteroffensive

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Since March 5, the federal government has advised Canadians not only to avoid all travel to Russia, but to leave the nation as a response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24. The West has rallied around Kyiv, and has imposed severe economic sanctions on Russia in response to the war.

After repelling Putin’s troops in the initial widespread invasion, Ukraine’s forces have battled Moscow in the eastern Donbas region since spring. Recently, Ukraine has taken back territories occupied by Russia in an ongoing counteroffensive that has been described as a humiliating moment for Moscow. In response, Putin ordered a partial mobilization of 300,000 soldiers and on Friday is set to formally annex four occupied regions in Ukraine in what could result in an escalation of the war.

Click to play video: 'Annexation of occupied Ukraine regions by Russia ‘illegal,’ says Anand'
Annexation of occupied Ukraine regions by Russia ‘illegal,’ says Anand

Since Putin’s mobilization order on Sept. 21, tens of thousands of Russian men have fled the country. Although Putin said the call up was aimed at men with past military service, many Russians fear it will be much broader and more arbitrary than that. There are several reports of men with no military training and of all ages receiving draft notices.

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Russians have flocked to airlines to seek ways out. On Wednesday, Russians clogged highways heading out of the country, and Moscow reportedly set up draft offices at borders to intercept some of them. Russia has land borders with 14 countries.

Read more: Russian police arrest hundreds in protests over Putin’s military mobilization

The move has also triggered protests and acts of violence across Russia. Angry demonstrations have been seen not just in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but in the remote areas with women chasing a police officer and shouting, “No to war!”

On Monday, a gunman who opened fire in an enlistment office in a Siberian city and gravely wounded the military commandant, said, “We will all go home now.”

With unrest growing in Russia, Ottawa is cautioning Canadians who are still in Russia.

“Canada’s travel advisories note that Canadians in Russia should not depend on the Government of Canada to leave the country and that the cost of transportation and transit time have increased significantly and remain very volatile due to high demand, limited flight availability and rerouting,” the GAC spokesperson said.

— with files from The Associated Press

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