OTTAWA, March 27. /TASS/. Four Russian diplomats expelled from Canada will have ten days to leave the country, Canadian Minister of Transport Marc Garneau told reporters.
"They have been watched for some time," he said, as cited by CTV. According to Garneau, the diplomats from the Russian embassy in Ottawa and consulate general in Montreal will have ten days to leave the country. At the same time, the Canadian Foreign Ministry declined to respond to TASS requests for comment.
On Monday, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced the expulsion of four Russian diplomats over the Skripal case. According to her, "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." Besides, Ottawa will also deny three applications by the Russian government for additional diplomatic staff in Canada.
Skripal incident and expulsion of diplomats
A number of EU member countries, the United States, Canada and Australia announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats over the poisoning of former Russian Russian military intelligence (GRU) officer Sergei Skripal, which the UK blames on Russia without providing any evidence. The Russian Foreign Ministry has stated that these unfriendly actions will not remain unanswered.
On March 4, Skripal and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of a nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury. British Prime Minister Theresa May said the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union. London expelled 23 Russian diplomats. Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had existed neither in the Soviet Union nor in Russia. In retaliation to the UK’s steps, 23 British diplomats were expelled, the British consulate general in the city of St. Petersburg was closed and the British Council had to shut down its operations in Russia.