Russia accuses Ottawa of demoralizing its soldiers on social media

Russia’s ambassador to Canada accuses Ottawa of waging a social media campaign aimed at demoralizing its soldiers fighting in Ukraine.

In an interview with the Russian state media, Oleg Stepanov denounced the fact that the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs frequently publishes negative messages in connection with the war in ukraine. He particularly lambasted a recent series of publications about Russian men fleeing military service.

“When there is no real diplomacy on the Canadian side, no capacity or appetite to deal with serious issues for Russia, they turn on this Twitter megaphone,” Stepanov told the Russian news agency. state RIA Novosti last week.

He added that Canada appears to be leading an effort by Western countries to isolate Russia.

Meanwhile, the governments of Georgia and Kazakhstan, which are neighbors of Russia, have reported an increase in new arrivals to their countries.

The ambassador argued that the Russians have no choice but to protect their country, saying that “history will separate the wheat from the chaff”.

Relations between Ottawa and Moscow have been strained since the start of therussian invasion of Ukraine last February.

Moscow began mobilizing men without military experience in September and rejects statements by the governments of Georgia and Kazakhstan about a subsequent increase in the number of people from neighboring Russia.

Last week, Global Affairs Canada posted a message on Twitter saying the mobilization had targeted ethnic minorities, sparked protests and driven thousands of Russian citizens to flight.

In a rejoinder, Mr Stepanov called the citizens who fled Russia “cowards”. He said real Russians would defend the country, “regardless of their political views”. He argued that there was “no moral alternative” to defending the national army.

He wrote in remarks to the TASS news agency that it is “exactly” in these instances of history that we separate the good from the bad.

Earlier this month, Moscow summoned the Canadian ambassador to Russia, in response to the fact that Canada has summoned Mr. Stepanov five times this year.

The summoning of an ambassador is normally a rare event where countries agree to formally oppose either the policy of the foreign country or the conduct of their diplomatic mission.

Ottawa first summoned Mr. Stepanov shortly after the February invasion, then, after the April massacre in the town of Bucha, followed by the October bombings in central Kyiv. The fourth summons came after the embassy tweeted anti-LGBTQ messages in November, and again this month for arguing that Ukraine’s 1930s famine, known as the Holodomor, was not the result of Soviet policy.

Russia returned the favor this month, summoning Canadian Ambassador Alison LeClaire for what the Russian Foreign Ministry called “numerous unwarranted cases” of Stepanov being summoned by Ottawa.

The five summons “go well beyond normal diplomatic practice,” the ministry argued in a Dec. 9 press release.

Moscow previously summoned Ms LeClaire in September, following allegations that Global Affairs Canada failed to take seriously incidents involving the Ottawa embassy, ​​such as the security video of a Molotov cocktail thrown on the mission field.

The two countries say they want to maintain certain diplomatic relations, but Ottawa has decided to no longer work with Moscow on many issues.

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Russia accuses Ottawa of demoralizing its soldiers on social media