Moscow accuses Ottawa of leading effort to undermine soldiers, summons ambassador

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OTTAWA — Russia’s ambassador to Canada says Ottawa is at the forefront of a social media effort he says is aimed at demoralizing Russian soldiers.

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In an interview with Russian state media, Oleg Stepanov chastised Canada’s Foreign Ministry for frequently posting unflattering information about the war in Ukraine, particularly recent tweets about Russian men fleeing military conscription.

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The ambassador said Russians had no choice but to defend their country, saying “history separates the wheat from the chaff”.

Relations between Ottawa and Moscow have been strained since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, and the governments of Georgia and Kazakhstan have reported an increase in the number of people coming from neighboring Russia.

Earlier this month, Russia summoned the Canadian ambassador to protest Ottawa doing the same thing to Stepanov five times this year.

The two countries say they want to maintain formal diplomatic relations even though Ottawa has withdrawn from working with Moscow on many issues.

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