Russian Ambassador to Ottawa on Visit to Foreign Ministry: Disagreements Run Deep
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Russian Ambassador in Ottawa Oleg Stepanov told Sputnik after visiting Canada’s Foreign Ministry that the disagreements between the two countries are deep.
Stepanov visited Global Affairs Canada earlier on Thursday on the invitation of Foreign Minister Melanie Joly after Russia began its special operation
“It was a political demarche at the level of the Minister of Foreign Affairs,” Stepanov said. “I was invited, Minister Joly outlined in detail the Canadian position regarding what is happening in and around Ukraine, this position was predictably critical and did not coincide with our assessments of the situation. As a result of the conversation, I can state the existence of deep disagreements between Canadian and Russian assessments of this story.”
“I believe that our relations are in a serious crisis, and it’s not Russia’s fault,” Stepanov said. “However, the channels of interstate communication, primarily through the foreign ministries of the two countries, remain open.”
Stepanov stressed that the Russian side believes that diplomatic contacts should be maintained in all circumstances.
“Because in the absence of diplomacy it is impossible to resolve any issues - even those on which we have seemingly insurmountable differences,” the envoy said. “The embassy along with our consular institutions will continue to work professionally and rhythmically, ensuring diplomatic channels of communication with the official Ottawa, and continuing the normal consular service to our citizens.”
Canada’s Sanctions Against Russia ‘Useless,’ Moscow Reserves Right to Respond
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday that Canada is imposing a second round of sanctions against Russia, targeting 58 individuals and entities.
“We have already said everything about the sanctions, it is pointless to comment on them. The Russian side has repeatedly said that Western sanctions are completely useless in this situation, they will not have an impact on either Russia or on resolving a wider crisis within the framework of the European security,” Stepanov said. “We perceive them with regret, and reserve the right to react both symmetrically and asymmetrically with regard to both personal and economic sanctions.”
In the early hours on Thursday, Russia launched a special operation after the republics of Donetsk and Luhansk requested assistance to defend themselves from ongoing attacks by Ukrainian troops. The Russian Defense Ministry said the operation is targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure only, and the civilian population is not in danger. Moscow says it has no plans to occupy Ukraine.