WATCH: Across Canada, including Toronto, protests are being held against Russia’s military intervention. Cindy Pom reports.

TORONTO – While politicians meet behind closed doors, civilian protests continue across the world – from major cities in eastern and southern Ukraine to demonstrations in Toronto and Ottawa.

After convening an emergency cabinet meeting Saturday afternoon, Harper says Canada is recalling its ambassador from Moscow and pulling out of the G8 process being chaired by Russia.

Canada will boycott meetings leading up to the G8 summit planned for Sochi later this year, Harper said Saturday. However, Canadian athletes will still compete in the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, set to begin March 7.

“Ukraine’s sovereign territory must be respected and the Ukrainian people must be free to determine their own future,” Harper said in his statement.

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

He warns that should Putin push forward with military action, it will lead to “ongoing negative consequences” for Canada-Russia relations.

Crimea: Strategically placed, politically polarized

The federal government’s response was prompted by the Russian parliament’s approval of President Vladimir Putin’s motion to militarily intervene in Crimea.

Distinctly pro-Russia, the Crimean peninsula is a part of Ukraine separated from the rest of the country geographically, historically and politically.

Read More: How Crimea Peninsula differs from the rest of Ukraine

Political turmoil in Ukraine pushed President Viktor Yanukovych from office following massive pro-democracy protests after he rejected a partnership agreement with the European Union in favour of deepening his country’s historical ties with Moscow.

The United Nations Security Council has engaged in open and closed-door sessions to discuss the recent developments in Ukraine.

WATCH: Stephen Harper and other world leaders are keeping a close watch of situation in Ukraine. Jacques Bourbeau reports

Read More: UN chief ‘gravely concerned’ over Ukraine events, will speak with Putin

With files from The Canadian Press

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