February 28, 2022
After hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Russian Embassy in Ottawa on Sunday to show their support for Ukraine, Russia’s foreign ministry demanded that Canada keep its diplomats safe — and threatened retaliation if they failed to do so.
The protesters, who then made their way to city hall, were called hostile in a statement by Russia’s foreign ministry. Russia called in Canada’s ambassador to Moscow to lodge a formal protest, Reuters reported.
Russia’s foreign ministry also said the country reserves the right to take action if Ottawa does not keep its diplomatic staff safe.
As well as the Ottawa embassy, it said Ukrainian supporters were also protesting outside two other consulates.
Crowds of protesters gathered outside the Russian consulate office on Saturday in Montreal. A group of people also gathered outside of Toronto’s Russian consulate office on Saturday in support of Ukrainians.
A larger gathering of Ukraine supporters was held in Toronto on Sunday, where Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who has Ukranian roots, addressed the crowd.
“I want all these oligarchs to understand, and the Russian people, that Russia has a choice. If Russia continues this barbaric war, the West is united, the West is relentless, we will cut the Russian economy off from our own.”
Freeland went on to praise the brave leaders of Ukraine for taking a courageous stand. “They need weapons to fight that fight. I’m so proud that Canada sent lethal aide before this war started, and with our allies are going to continue supporting that Ukrainian war effort.”
Over the weekend Canada banned Russian commercial airlines from its airspace, and backed Western allies in widespread banking and economic sanctions against Russia. Canada also took steps to remove state-owned broadcaster Russian Today (RT) from its airwaves.
Rogers Communications Inc., BCE Inc. and Telus Corp. said late Sunday that RT will no longer be available to their customers.
Canada is also cautioning its citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Russia.
On Monday, Russia also complained to the U.S. ambassador to Moscow over what it described as “hostile” protests near its diplomatic facilities in the United States and told Washington to ensure the safety of its staff, Russia’s foreign ministry said.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov made the comments to U.S. ambassador John Sullivan at a meeting in Moscow. They also discussed other bilateral issues, the foreign ministry said.