Canadians in Russia who hold dual citizenship should leave the country immediately or risk being conscripted for mandatory military service, the Government of Canada warned in an updated travel advisory on Sept. 29.
The updated advisory comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin executes a partial military mobilization that could see as many as 300,000 citizens and reservists sent to fight in Russia’s war in Ukraine. It echoes a similar warning published by the U.S. government on Sept. 27.
“Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Russia,” the Canadian travel advisory reads, adding that Russian authorities may choose to consider anyone with dual citizenship a Russian citizen and deny them access to Canadian consular services.
“You may also be subject to certain legal obligations, including military service. You may be detained, imprisoned, or fined large sums if you try to avoid military service,” the advisory warns.
For Canadians still in Russia, getting out may be harder than at any point since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Since Putin announced the partial military mobilization on Sept. 21, flight availability, which was already limited, has become even more scarce. Many flights are fully booked for weeks ahead. Any Canadian still Russia should leave while commercial flights are still available, Ottawa warns.
“You should not depend on the Government of Canada to help you leave the country,” the federal travel advisory reads.
After facing steep battlefield losses amid Ukraine’s latest counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region, the Kremlin has struggled to replenish its troops there. The Associated Press reports it has even resorted to recruiting prison inmates.
On Friday, Putin further escalated the war by signing treaties to illegally annex four partially occupied Ukrainian territories, to which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy responded by submitting an accelerated application to join NATO.
“We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine’s application for accelerated accession to NATO,” Zelenskyy said in a speech on Sept. 30. “We are completing the dismantling of Russian influence on Ukraine, Europe and the world.”
With files from The Associated Press