Investigators in protective suits work at the scene near the Maltings shopping centre in Salisbury, England, Tuesday, March 13, 2018. The use of Russian-developed nerve agent Novichok to poison ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter makes it “highly likely” that Russia was involved, British Prime Minister Theresa May said Monday. Novichok refers to a class of nerve agents developed in the Soviet Union near the end of the Cold War.(Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)

Canada expels Russian diplomats in wake of British attack

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says the move is in solidarity with Britain in the wake of a nerve agent attack

Canada has joined the U.S. and several European countries in expelling several Russian diplomats following a nerve-agent attack in the United Kingdom last week that left a former Russian spy and his daughter in critical condition.

Four Russian diplomats will be told to leave and three others will not be given permission to start working in Canada, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement Monday.

“The nerve agent attack in Salisbury, on the soil of Canada’s close partner and ally, is a despicable, heinous and reckless act, potentially endangering the lives of hundreds,” she said.

“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.”

Related: US expels 60 Russian diplomats, shudders Seattle consulate

The four Russian diplomats who are being expelled are all intelligence officers, Freeland added, or “have used their diplomatic status to undermine Canada’s security or interfere in our democracy.”

They were working at the Russian Embassy in Ottawa and the consulate-general in Montreal.

The Canadian government’s decision follows a similar move by the U.S. and about a dozen European countries, which announced Monday that they were together expelling dozens of Russian diplomats as a sign of solidarity with the United Kingdom.

British Prime Minister Theresa May last week expelled 23 Russian envoys in response to the nerve-agent attack against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury on March 4.

A British police officer who stumbled upon the two as they lay unconscious on a bench outside a shopping centre was also hospitalized after coming into contact with the substance, but has since been released.

Russia, which has denied any involvement in the attack, subsequently expelled a similar number of British diplomats from Moscow, and has vowed to reciprocate against any other countries that kick out its representatives.

Freeland said the attack is part of a “wider pattern of unacceptable behaviour by Russia,” including its support for the Syrian government, its annexation of Crimea, support for rebel forces in Ukraine and interference in elections.

“We are taking these measures in solidarity with the United Kingdom,” Freeland said.

“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.”

Related: US, France, Germany blame Russia for UK nerve agent attack

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Trudeau announces bioregional oceans protection agreement in Prince Rupert

Agreement announced in partnership with 14 central and north coast First Nations

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

Local artist Danika Naccarella commissioned to design artwork for Northern Sea Wolf

The Sea Wolf symbolizes family, loyalty and the protection of those travelling their waters.

‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

UBC researchers say dads don’t have to be number one in the office to get a raise

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

Most Read