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Canada: Non-essential Canadians advised to leave Ukraine amid growing tensions with Russia

"No options are excluded" to respond to a Russian attack in Ukraine, announces the White House

 © Sergey Pivovarov many Russian armed means are posted not far from Ukrainian borders (illustration). Reuters / Sergey Pivovarov The tension seems to rise again a notch in this war of declarations between Russia and the United States. "We are at a stage where Russia can launch an attack in Ukraine at any time," said the White House spokesperson on Tuesday, speaking of an "extremely dangerous situation".

Canadians in Ukraine should "evaluate if (their) presence is essential" as tensions with Russia continue to rise, according to an updated travel advisory issued Monday evening.

The new language from Global Affairs Canada was added to an existing advisory to avoid non-essential travel to the country that has been in place since last week. It was also shared by Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly on social media.

Canada's warning comes amid growing concerns that Russia is planning a military invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow has denied.

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Canada weighing small weapons shipment to Ukraine amid Russia threat: sources

Ukrainian Canadians worry about Russia conflict: ‘I’m afraid for my family’

  Ukrainian Canadians worry about Russia conflict: ‘I’m afraid for my family’ Ukrainian Canadians with families back in Ukraine are worrying about their safety as Russian aggression near the borders is stoking fears of a possible invasion.“I'm afraid for my family because there is nowhere they can go and there's nothing much they can do to protect themselves,” the 27-year-old Edmonton resident told Global News.

On Monday, the United Kingdom began pulling diplomatic staff from Ukraine, a day after the United States ordered the families of their own embassy workers to leave the country. The U.S. warned Sunday that Russian military action "could come at any time."

Canada has yet to issue a similar directive for either its diplomatic staff or their families. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said their safety is "paramount" and that his government has "many contingency plans" in place for whatever actions Russia takes.

"We will continue to be there for Ukraine and ensure the safety of Canadians and Ukrainians," Trudeau told reporters.

A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada did not say whether an evacuation of diplomats’ families is being considered, or whether any aspect of the staffing levels at the embassy will change.

In photos: Russian military buildup near Ukraine’s borders

  In photos: Russian military buildup near Ukraine’s borders Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that Canada “stands with Ukrainian people” and will “always be there with the necessary supports,” after announcing a loan of up to $120 million (CAD) to the Ukrainian government amid ongoing tensions with neighbouring Russia.

“Global Affairs Canada takes the safety and security of our personnel, their families, and our missions overseas very seriously,” spokesperson Jason Kung said in an email.

“Global Affairs Canada works with its missions in the development of prudent contingency planning for any type of emergency situation, and continuously monitors the security situation at its missions abroad. We do not discuss operational details of our missions abroad out of security considerations.”

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Global Affairs Canada suffers ‘cyber attack’ amid Russia-Ukraine tensions: sources

The agency is currently scrambling to recover from what government sources told Global News is a "cyber attack" that the government is concerned was conducted by Russia or Russian-based hackers.

The attack, which the federal Treasury Board confirmed was first detected on Jan. 19, has left some diplomats without access to some online services almost a week later.

NewsBlog on Ukraine: NATO Member States Reinforce Defense in Eastern Europe

 NewsBlog on Ukraine: NATO Member States Reinforce Defense in Eastern Europe The location on the border between Ukraine and Russia is tense. Moscow has contracted about 100,000 soldiers. Ukraine and the west fear an invasion. Russia rejects this reproach and demands security guarantees. So far, all diplomatic efforts are in vain. © AP Ukrainian patrol at the border with Russia Monday, January 24 NATO Member States Reinforcing Defense in Eastern Europe 10.50 : Due to the tensions with Russia, a number of NATO Member States reinforce their military presence in Eastern Eur

The Liberal government has been vocal in its support for Ukraine as Russia masses troops on the former Soviet state’s borders, with Ottawa announcing a $120 million loan to the Ukrainian government last week and re-committing Canadian soldiers to train Kyiv’s security forces.

Government sources also told Global News on Monday that Trudeau's cabinet is currently weighing whether to ship small weapons like firearms and ammunition to Ukraine during the cabinet's three-day retreat.

Sources said the government is looking to take a hard, clear stance in support of Ukraine, while limiting the potential to inflame already heated tensions with Russia as that country continues to mass troops on the Ukrainian border.

Trudeau is expected to make an announcement after the cabinet retreat ends on Wednesday.

Canada's support of Ukraine has also received public blowback. Last week, the Russian embassy in Canada falsely accused Joly of spreading misinformation about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine's eastern front between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed separatists.

VOLODYMYR Zelensky calls on the EU to remain united against Russia

 VOLODYMYR Zelensky calls on the EU to remain united against Russia The Ukrainian Head of State called on Monday the European Union to remain united against Russia, in an interview with the President of the European Council and after Controversial declarations of German officials. View on Euronews © Photo: AP (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office) On this photo provided by the Ukrainian presidency, President Zelensky responds to an online interview in Kiev, Friday 21 January 2022.

Moscow has long denied supporting the separatists, instead accusing Kyiv of waging war against its own citizens. The years of conflict were sparked after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

In recent weeks, Russia has positioned about 100,000 troops across Ukraine's borders along with tanks and other heavy artillery, stoking fears across Europe of an imminent invasion.

Tensions escalated on Monday as the U.S. placed 8,500 troops on heightened alert in Europe.

NATO, meanwhile, in an attempt to show heightened solidarity also announced a series of what it called ``enhanced deterrence and defence'' deployments of ships, fighter jets and troops.

Denmark was a sending a frigate to the Baltic Sea and four F-16 fighter jets to Lithuania. Spain was sending ships, and was considering sending fighter jets to Bulgaria. France said it was prepared to send troops to Romania under NATO command. The Netherlands planned to send a pair of F-35 stealth fighter jets to Bulgaria. The U.S. said it was considering increasing its military presence in eastern Europe.

NATO has not made a decision to activate its so-called Response Force, which consists of about 40,000 troops from multiple nations.

With files from Global's Amanda Connolly, Mercedes Stephenson, Alex Boutillier and the Canadian Press

Ukraine: Beijing defends "the concerns" of Russia .
© Vincent Isore / Maxppp / IP3 Press / Maxppp L E Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, has defended, Thursday, the "reasonable concerns" of the Russia for his safety, during a telephone exchange with his American counterpart Antony Blinken about the Ukraine . "We call all parties to calm, to refrain from increasing tensions and rising the crisis in pin," said Wang Yi, according to a statement broadcast by his department.

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