Canada is temporarily relocating some of its military personnel based in Ukraine to an undisclosed location in Europe ahead of an anticipated Russian invasion, the Canadian government said Sunday.
“As a result of the complex operational environment linked to Russia’s unwarranted aggression against Ukraine, the Canadian Armed Forces is in the process of temporarily relocating components of Joint Task Force – Ukraine (JTF-U) to elsewhere in Europe,” the government said in a statement.
However, the move “does not signal the end of the mission,” it said, adding it will allow Canada to refocus its efforts while ensuring the safety and security of the Canadian Armed Forces.
“Force protection is the top priority for our training mission, of which operational security is a key component,” it said. “Thus, while we can confirm we have relocated some of our forces outside of Ukraine, we will not discuss numbers, locations, or future intentions.”
The government reiterated that Canada is “committed to the people of Ukraine and its mission to increase the capacity and capability of the Security Forces of Ukraine.”
Moscow recently amassed more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine, prompting fears that the Kremlin could be planning another military offensive against its former Soviet neighbor.
Russia denies that it is preparing to invade and accuses Western countries of undermining its security through NATO’s expansion towards its borders.
The Kremlin also issued a list of security demands to the West, including a rollback of troop deployments from some ex-Soviet states and guarantees that Ukraine and Georgia would not join NATO.