The Canadian government joined the U.S. and nearly a dozen other European countries in expelling dozens of Russian diplomats from their embassies and consulates. The actions are the strongest rebuke of Western countries towards Russia in recent years.
“We are expelling four members of Russia’s diplomatic staff, serving either at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Canada or the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Montréal,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland in a press release. “The four have been identified as intelligence officers or individuals who have used their diplomatic status to undermine Canada’s security or interfere in our democracy.”
The expulsions follow the March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent, who had been living in the U.K. for the past eight years, and his daughter who was visiting him from Moscow. Skripal is believed to have been responsible for the outing of hundreds of Russian spies across the world between 1995 and 2004, when he served as in the Russian intelligence agencies while feeding information to the MI6. He was arrested by Russian authorities in December 2004 and convicted in August 2006 for high treason. The alleged poisoning is the latest in a string of former Russian spies and dissidents living in Western countries who have turned up dead.
Nevertheless, Freeland said that Canada was committed to dialogue and cooperation with Russia on issues of mutual concern. But the alleged poisoning of Skripal and his daughter has many Western nations worried about an emboldened Russia coming after political adversaries outside its borders. Given the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Canada, do you believe Russia is a threat to the country? Vote in the poll above and let us know your comments below.