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Russia Sees Trucker Protests as Canada's Internal Affair, Does Not Want to Be Drawn in

© ALEX KENTTrucker signs a protestors sign during a rally against COVID-19 on Parliament Hill on January 30, 2022 in Ottawa, Canada.
Trucker signs a protestors sign during a rally against COVID-19 on Parliament Hill on January 30, 2022 in Ottawa, Canada.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.02.2022
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Russia considers trucker protests against COVID-19 restrictions to be Canada’s internal affair, and opposes attempts by some media to link it to "Russian actors," Ambassador in Ottawa Oleg Stepanov said.
"The embassy, of course, sees what is happening as an exclusively internal affair of Canada," Stepanov said. "Our main concern is to ensure that Russia is not drawn into the story, that the consequences of the truck blockade do not interfere with the embassy and consulates general, that no incidents with our citizens take place during the protests. For safety reasons, we recommend them to avoid places where truckers are on strike."
On 29 January, thousands of truckers and hundreds of other demonstrators gathered in Ottawa in protest against vaccine mandates for truckers crossing the US-Canada border. The protestors believe the restrictions to be unconstitutional.
The protests were generally peaceful. However, the police launched several criminal investigations into a series of incidents, including people jumping on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and desecration of the statue of Canadian athlete and cancer research activist Terry Fox. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family were moved to a different location from their home in the capital city, according to Canadian media reports.
FILE PHOTO: Trucks sit parked on Wellington Street near the Parliament Buildings as truckers and their supporters take part in a convoy to protest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine mandates for cross-border truck drivers in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, January 29, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 31.01.2022
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CBC host Nil Koksal, during an interview with Canadian Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino, suggested that "Russian actors" could be behind the protests. The journalist referred to tension between Moscow and Kiev, Canada's ally.
"According to our observations, indeed, there has been an attempt to find a 'Russian trace.' But so far it hasn't developed," Stepanov said. "Now CBC is concerned that the money to support truckers could come from the United States from Donald Trump supporters ... In addition, famous entrepreneur Elon Mask, who has spoken in support of the protesters, got into hot water."
Police in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario said on Friday they are gearing up for a second trucker-led protest against COVID-19 restrictions during the weekend, preparing to maintain public order and ensure unimpeded access to hospitals.
The police warned of road closures and stressed that those attempting to disrupt hospital or emergency operations would be held liable.
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