Canada recalled its ambassador to Russia and pulled out of preparation talks for the G8 summit in protest at Moscow’s belligerence over developments in Ukraine, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said late Saturday.

“We join our allies in condemning in the strongest terms President Putin’s military intervention in Ukraine,” Mr. Harper said in a statement.

“The Canadian ambassador in Moscow is being recalled for consultations,” he said.

Earlier on Saturday, Russia’s Upper House of Parliament approved a request from Mr. Putin to use Russia’s armed forces inside Ukraine “until the social and political situation in that country is normalised.” Ukraine responded by placing its military on high alert.

Mr. Putin said the move was justified because of a threat to Russian citizens, ethnic Russians and military personnel in the Crimean peninsula.

“We call on President Putin to immediately withdraw his forces to their bases and refrain from further provocative and dangerous actions,” Mr. Harper said.

“These actions are a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They are also in violation of Russia’s obligations under international law.” He added that “Canada has suspended its engagement in preparations for the G-8 Summit,” due to take place in the Russian city of Sochi in June.

“We will continue to cooperate closely with our G7 partners and other allies. Should President Putin continue on this course of action, it will lead to ongoing negative consequences for our bilateral relationship.”

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