A call by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for Russian President Vladimir Putin to play a more positive role in the world and back out of its occupation of Ukraine is being attacked by the Russian embassy in Ottawa as “confrontational.”
Speaking with reporters Wednesday from Toronto, Trudeau had been asked about the re-election of Putin to yet another six-year term in an election dogged with accusations of ballot box stuffing, voter duplication and general corruption.
In particular, reporters asked Trudeau what the prospect of a Putin-led Russia could mean for the upcoming Canadian federal election in 2019, given the part Russia has played in a campaign to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
“President Putin needs to start showing by his actions that he wants to play a positive role in the international community,” Trudeau said.
In a tweet Thursday, the Russian embassy in Ottawa said Canada was following the lead of the U.K. in making “slanderous” and “confrontational” comments.
Earlier this week, the House of Commons adopted a unanimous motion blaming Russia for the nerve agent attack against a former Russian spy in Britain two weeks ago.
Russia has repeatedly denied involvement in the attack, which left former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in critical condition in hospital after the U.K. says they were doused with a Soviet military-grade nerve agent.
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However, Russia has put forth conspiracy theories accusing the U.K. of being behind the attack, which also sent roughly 30 other bystanders to hospital with minor injuries.
Russia has yet to explain how a nerve agent manufactured by the Soviets came to be used in the attack.