The Russian embassy in Canada has denied reports that its diplomats were using their Montreal consulate as a base from which to carry out online misinformation campaigns targeting Canada, its allies and the Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Canada expelled four Russian diplomats earlier this week, amid an international diplomatic row over Russia’s role in a chemical attack targeting former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.
The Globe and Mail reported on Thursday that three of the diplomats were running cyber campaigns aimed at discrediting WADA — after Russia was banned from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympics over its state-sponsored doping program — and sowing discord in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.
On Saturday, the Russian embassy in Ottawa tweeted that the accusations were “baseless and false.” An embassy official told Global News that the tweet was issued in response to the specific Globe article which cited an unnamed federal official alleging that the diplomats were running cyber campaigns.
WATCH: Why did Canada expel Russian diplomats?
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland previously said the diplomats being expelled had been “identified as intelligence officers or individuals who have used their diplomatic status to undermine Canada’s security or interfere in our democracy.”
She added that the measures were being taken in solidarity with the British government, for whom Skripal worked as a double-agent.
Some two dozen countries ordered out over 150 Russian diplomats this week, with Russia responding in kind and expelling scores of diplomats, including four from Canada and 60 from the U.S.