OTTAWA, April 8 (UPI) -- Canada has ordered the departure from Ottawa of a Russian diplomat to “send a message” to Moscow over what it termed President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to destabilize Ukraine.
Russian military attaché Yury Bezler was asked to leave Canada within two weeks.
The move is in direct response to Russia’s decision to remove a Canadian diplomat from his position in Moscow. There are reports Canada believes Russia is stocking its Ottawa embassy with additional envoys who may or may not be spies.
Ottawa recently denied visa applications for some members of the Russian diplomatic staff after those seeking accreditation were “not who they claimed to be,” the newspaper the Globe and Mail said Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the events.
The denials led to the removal of the Canadian envoy, a relatively low-level diplomat, from Russia. That incident led to the Canadian request for Bezler to leave.
The Canadian government offered no comment on the situation and how it may pertain to events in Ukraine, but Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird was sharply critical of Russia’s approach Monday, saying, “Canada strongly condemns the agents provocateurs in the three Ukrainian oblasts of Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk. Canada calls for calm and for Ukraine’s territorial integrity to be respected. Russia must not interfere in the affairs of a sovereign state.”
[Globe and Mail]