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Canada pulls diplomats’ families out of Ukraine

Canada ordered diplomats’ families to leave Ukraine as Russian troops mass at the joint border between the two countries, Global Affairs Canada announced Tuesday.

The agency said in a statement to Anadolu Agency that although diplomatic staff will remain, children under age 18 and family members have been ordered to leave.

“The safety and security of Canadians, our personnel and their families at our missions abroad is our top priority,” according to the statement. “Due to the ongoing Russian military buildup and destabilizing activities in and around Ukraine, we have decided to temporarily withdraw Canadian embassy staff’s children under 18 years of age and family members accompanying them.”

Late Monday, Canada also issued a travel advisory that Canadians should exit Ukraine.

“If you are in Ukraine, you should evaluate if your presence is essential,” it said.

Canada is the latest in a list of countries, including the US and UK, to issue a withdrawal order for their embassies.

Russia denies any plan to invade but it has massed at least 100,000 troops along its border with Ukraine.

Prior to Tuesday’s pullout order and Monday’s travel advisory, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was apprehensive of Russian motives.

“We are extremely concerned about the Russian aggression and the ongoing threat of further invasion into Ukraine,” he said Monday.

Ukraine officials have said that the situation is “under control” and that they were not expecting a Russian offensive at this time.

Meanwhile, Canada will continue to keep an eye on developments.

“Officials at Global Affairs Canada and at the Embassy of Canada to Ukraine in Kyiv will continue to closely monitor the situation,” said the Global Affairs statement.