Canada has decided to “temporarily relocate” some of its military personnel stationed in Ukraine elsewhere in Europe due to growing fears of a Russian invasion of the country, its Ministry of Defence announced Sunday.
The temporary repositioning of “elements” of its contingent assigned to the training of the Ukrainian army “does not mean the end of the mission” of the Canadian military but lets Canada “refocus its efforts while ensuring the safety of members of the Canadian Armed Forces,” the ministry said in a press release.
Ottawa did not give details on the number of the soldiers concerned, or on the place of their repositioning.
Some 200 Canadian soldiers have been deployed in Ukraine since 2015 as part of the UNIFIER mission, aimed at contributing to the training of Ukrainian forces.
“The Canadian Armed Forces remains committed to the people of Ukraine and its mission to increase the capacity and capability of the Security Forces of Ukraine,” the statement added.
The United States reported at the end of the week the withdrawal from Ukraine of 160 soldiers who were training Ukrainian forces.
Canada announced on Saturday the temporary closure of its embassy in Kiev and the transfer of its operations to a temporary office in Lviv (west), due to the “deterioration of the situation caused by the deployment of Russian troops at the border.