#Canada, #expellingfourRussiandiplomaticstaff, #Montreal, #ChrystiaFreeland, #TheresaMay, #JustinTrudeau, #DonaldTrump
Ottawa, Mar 28 (Canadian-Media): Canada is expelling four Russian diplomatic staff, posted at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Ottawa consulate in Montreal. over the poisoning of an ex-spy in Salisbury, United Kingdom (U.K.), media reports said.
"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," Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement.
The March 4 nerve agent attack on Canada's close ally and partner, Sergei Skripal and his daughter in critical condition in Britain, was said to be "a despicable, heinous and reckless act" by Freeland was reported to state.
British Prime Minister Theresa May had said her government has concluded that it was "highly likely" that Russia was responsible for the attack on Skripal, a former Russian spy, and his daughter in Salisbury.
As well, three applications by the Russian government for additional diplomatic staff in Canada will reportedly be denied.
Freeland said that steps taken by Canada are in in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and on Consular Relations, .
Canada's move followed diplomatic action taken by the U.S. and several European Union (EU) nations.
The U.S. administration sent a message Monday to Russia's leaders about the "unacceptably high" number of Russian intelligence operatives in the U.S. by expelling 60 Russian diplomats, and ordering the closure of Russia's consulate in Seattle in response to the attack .
This action has prompted harsh condemnation from Russia, who have also threatened to reatalliate against Canada.
"We are taking these measures in solidarity with the United Kingdom," Freeland said in the release.
"These measures are not aimed at the Russian people, with whom Canadians have long and fruitful ties. Canada remains committed to dialogue and co-operation with Russia on issues where we face common challenges. The nerve agent attack represents a clear threat to the rules-based international order and to the rules that were established by the international community to ensure chemical weapons would never again destroy human lives."
'For national security reasons I can't get into that,' Canada's Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan was reported to state.
The Russian embassy in Ottawa issued a statement on Twitter calling Canada's decision "highly deplorable and outrageous."
"By taking for granted the totally baseless British accusations, in stark violation of due process ahead of ongoing investigation, if any, of the Skripal case, Canada obediently follows the US/UK designed dangerous confrontational policy. This unfriendly move under false and biased pretext delivers yet another serious blow to Russian-Canadian relations and will be met with resolve and reciprocity,"
the statement read.
Piotr Dutkiewicz, a professor and Russian foreign relations expert at Carleton University, warned that Canada may be risking significant blowback in the Canada-Russia relationship, especially in matters touching on the Arctic.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump spoke on the phone Monday about "measures taken by Canada and the United States to support our common ally against Russia in response to the egregious nerve agent attack in Salisbury," the Canadian government said in a statement.
The Russian diplomats will have 10 days to leave the country.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)