Canadian PM Trudeau concerned by Russian troop buildup on Ukraine border - source

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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada, which has 200 troops based in Ukraine, is concerned about a Russian buildup of forces near the war-torn east of the country and is watching the crisis closely, a senior source directly familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Kyiv and Moscow blame each other for a recent spate of violence in the region.

"The prime minister was briefed this morning on this issue, the Russian troop buildup. ... We view this as significant and concerning," said the source, who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.

"The fact we have troops there means we are more than just casual observers."

A force of 200 Canadian military trainers has been based in western Ukraine since September 2015.

Ukraine's top military official said on Tuesday that Russia was building up armed forces near the border. Moscow responded by saying it feared Kyiv's government forces could do something to restart a conflict with pro-Russian separatists.

Canada, long one of Russia's harshest critics, said on Monday it was imposing sanctions against two Russians and four business entities in response to Moscow's "illegal occupation and annexation" of Crimea in 2014.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Cooney)