Canada orders Russian diplomat out of the country
Published Tuesday, April 8, 2014 1:30PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 8, 2014 9:55PM EDT
Canada has ordered a Russian diplomat to leave the country, sources have confirmed to CTV News, as Moscow stands accused of promoting further unrest in eastern Ukraine.
Lieut.-Col. Yury Bezler, an assistant military attaché, has been given two weeks to leave Canada, the sources confirmed.
Bezler was spotted in Ottawa late Tuesday. Asked about the circumstances surrounding his expulsion, Bezler told CTV News: "I don't know, ask your government."
He also said he "likes" Canada but declined to comment when asked about how he felt about leaving the country.
The expulsion comes a day after Canada accused Moscow of fostering pro-Russian activity in eastern Ukraine after its recent annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.
Pro-Russian activists have taken over government buildings in Donetsk and have declared their wish to secede from Ukraine. Activists have also taken control of government and media buildings in Kharkiv. Tens of thousands of Russian soldiers have been stationed to the region.
“Canada strongly condemns the agents provocateurs that are fomenting unrest in the three Ukrainian oblasts of Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk,” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said in a statement issued Monday evening.
“Canada calls for calm and for Ukraine’s territorial integrity to be respected. Russia must not interfere in the affairs of a sovereign state,” Baird went on.
“Russia’s continued provocative actions in Crimea and elsewhere are completely unacceptable. If this pattern persists, Russia will continue to face increased isolation from the international community and suffer further serious consequences as a result of its actions.”
Last month, Canada expelled nine Russian soldiers who had been participating in military exercises in the country. The federal government has also ceased a number of joint military and economic programs in the wake of Russia’s intervention in Crimea.