Canada has evacuated all its diplomats from Ukraine, including Ambassador Larisa Galadza, as Russia’s invasion intensifies.
The 10 to 14 staff were whisked across the border to neighbouring Poland in the early hours of the Russian military offensive, a Canadian government source said.
Canada suspended operations at its Kyiv embassy on Feb. 12. A small group of remaining diplomats then decamped to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, where they continued operating and processing immigration and visa applications.
The Globe and Mail is not identifying the source because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the movement of diplomats.
It’s not known where the diplomats are in Poland, but Canada’s embassy in Warsaw is a six-hour drive from Lviv.
The Canadian government has repeatedly warned its citizens to leave Ukraine in recent weeks.
It said any Canadians still in Ukraine and requiring consular assistance should contact the Department of Global Affairs’ 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre at 001-613-996-8885 or firstname.lastname@example.org or by text message at 001-613-686-3658.
Separately, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh urged the government Thursday to apply sanctions to Russian President Vladimir Putin “where it hurts most.”
He condemned the invasion of Ukraine and called on Ottawa to impose severe economic sanctions on Russian oligarchs close to Mr. Putin as well. “By expanding sanctions to the assets of ultra-wealthy oligarchs and barring their financial interactions, Putin’s own wealth will be exposed, and it compromises his ability to protect the oligarchs who enable him,” Mr. Singh said.
He also urged Canada to work with allies to cut off Russia from the SWIFT banking network.
Mr. Singh also called for visa-free access to Canada for Ukrainians so they can flee to safe havens.
Canada has granted visa-free access to citizens of more than 60 countries and jurisdictions.
While Canadians can visit Ukraine for up to 90 days without a visa, Ukrainians require one to travel to Canada.
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