Canada pulls troops out of Ukraine as worries of Russian invasion grow

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Published February 13, 2022 at 1:44 pm

OTTAWA — The military is moving troops out of Ukraine in one of the strongest signals yet that a Russian invasion is imminent.

The Defence Department says soldiers who have been in Ukraine as part of a training mission are being temporarily relocated to elsewhere in Europe.

The department won’t say where the soldiers have gone, nor how many of them have been moved for security reasons.

A statement from the department says the movement of troops out of Ukraine doesn’t signal the end of the training mission meant to bolster that country’s security forces.

Instead, the department says the move allows the military time to refocus efforts in the face of Russia’s “unwarranted aggression” against Ukraine.

Defence Minister Anita Anand says Canada remains committed to supporting the people of Ukraine and helping its security forces improve their capabilities.

She adds that the security of Canadian Armed Forces troops is a top priority, and “this temporary repositioning will ensure the safety of Canadian personnel.”

Russia has mobilized 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine and is demanding a series of concessions from the NATO military alliance, which includes Canada.

While Russia has denied wanting a war, diplomatic talks between Moscow and the West have failed to resolve the standoff and NATO leaders have started warning of a conflict in Ukraine.

The announcement that troops were moved out of Ukraine comes one day after Canada shuttered its embassy in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and relocated its diplomatic staff to a temporary office in Lviv in the western part of the country.

Lviv is home to a Ukrainian military base that served as the main hub for Canada’s 200-soldier training mission in the former Soviet country.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought to reassure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that Canada stands with his country.

A summary of Trudeau’s conversation with Zelenskyy provided by the Prime Minister’s Office indicated the Canadian leader had once again committed to imposing economic sanctions on Russia in response to an invasion of Ukraine.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 13, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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