The federal government is advising Canadians in Ukraine to leave the country as soon as possible amid the threat of a possible Russian military invasion.
The warning was included in an email Global Affairs Canada sent to Canadians in Ukraine this week.
“If you are in Ukraine, you should leave while commercial means are available,” said the email.
“The ability of our embassy to provide consular services in Ukraine may become severely limited. You should not depend on the government of Canada to help you leave the country.”
The email was sent to the 780 Canadians in Ukraine registered for the government’s Registration of Canadians Abroad service, which notifies Canadians of emergencies internationally.
The Globe and Mail was first to report on the updated advisory.
It contains more detailed warnings about the fallout of a possible Russian invasion.
“Russian military action in Ukraine could disrupt transportation routes and services throughout the country. Flights could be disrupted or cancelled on short notice, resulting in delayed departure,” the email also said.
It warns Canadians in Ukraine of the potential for widespread disruptions to essential services including electricity; water and food; telecommunications; emergency services; and medical care.
Canadians who decide to stay in Ukraine are advised to “review your personal security plans and to “be prepared to shelter in place if required.”
According to Ukrainian and Western intelligence officials, Russia has massed more than 100,000 soldiers along its border with Ukraine in preparation for a possible invasion that could begin sometime this winter.
Russia has denied any plans for immediate military action, but the Kremlin has repeatedly voiced its objection to the expansion of NATO into Ukraine and has also called for the removal of NATO soldiers from a number of countries in Eastern Europe.
Canada has been advising against non-essential travel to Ukraine since mid-January.