If it isn't the pandemic, then it's geopolitics and looming armed conflicts that continue to interfere with travel.
The Canadian government has urged its citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Ukraine due to “ongoing Russian aggression and military buildup in and around the country”.
Foreign Minister Melanie Joly will visit Kyiv next week to reaffirm Canadian support for Ukrainian sovereignty and reinforce efforts to deter “aggressive actions” by Russia, the Ottawa said earlier.
“We have changed the risk level for Ukraine to avoid non-essential travel due to ongoing Russian aggression and military buildup in and around the country”, the Canadian government said in a travel advisory issued late Saturday.
Moscow has stationed more than 100,000 troops near the border with Ukraine. and the United States said on Friday it feared Russia was preparing a pretext to invade if diplomacy failed to meet its objectives.
Canada, with a sizeable and politically influential population of Ukrainian descent, has taken a hard line with Russia since its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Joly will meet Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal and travel to the west of the country to speak to a 200-strong Canadian training mission that has been there since 2015.
Canadian Deputy Foreign Minister Marta Morgan and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman spoke on Friday and pledged continued close coordination to deter further Russian aggression against Ukraine and called for Russian de-escalation, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said on Saturday.
Russia denies plans to attack Ukraine but says it could take unspecified military action unless its demands – including a promise by the NATO alliance never to admit Kyiv – are met.
Russia did not walk out of meetings on the crisis with the United States and European nations last week, but the talks ended with U.S. officials warning that the risk of a Russian invasion of Ukraine remains high.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Tuesday and “emphasized that any military incursion into Ukraine would have serious consequences, including coordinated sanctions”.
Canada has imposed punitive measures on more than 440 individuals and entities over the annexation of Crimea.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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Photo credit: St. Sophia's Catheral in Kiev, Ukraine Juan Antonio Segal / Flickr Commons