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Canada urges citizens to avoid all travel to Russia after new censorship law

By Tom Yun, CTVNews.ca writer

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    TORONTO, Ontario (CTV Network) — Canada on Saturday strengthened its travel advisory for Russia and is now urging Canadians to avoid all travel to the country after Russia’s new censorship law was enacted.

Canadians who are still in Russia are being asked to leave as soon as possible while commercial flights are still available. The Canadian government notes that availability of flights “is becoming extremely limited” as airlines around the world cease flights to the country and Russian airlines face sanctions from western governments.

“Several countries, including Canada, have restricted financial transactions and air connections with Russia. Russia has retaliated with similar measures. These sanctions and the Russian retaliation may have an important impact on the availability and the provision of essential service,” the Canadian government said on its travel advisory website.

Canadians who decide to remain in Russia are being warned that they may be affected by shortages of essential goods and unable to withdraw money from banks. The federal government also says that Canadians in Russia could be stuck in the country for longer than expected and “should not depend on the Government of Canada to help you leave the country.”

Previously, Canada warned against non-essential travel to Russia after its war with Ukraine first broke out. But on Friday, the Russian parliament voted to approve a new law that would criminalize people for spreading news reports of the war that Russia considers “fake.”

Those who violate the new law could face up to 15 years in prison. As a result, many western media outlets have announced that they would be pulling their journalists out of the country and temporary suspending their Russia bureaus.

Given the new law, Canada is asking citizens in Russia to abstain from talking about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, sharing information about the war online or participating in protests and large gatherings.

Similarly, the U.S. on Saturday has also issued a “Do Not Travel” advisory for Russia, asking Americans currently in Russia to leave immediately.

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