Russia summoned the Canadian ambassador on Monday to complain about “Russophobic” comments by the Trudeau government earlier this month about seeking “regime change”, with Moscow threatening “serious consequences” in return.
Canada is subverting international norms in diplomatic relations and international law, Russia — which invaded a sovereign country last year and apparently has no sense of irony — has alleged in an angry despatch through state media publisher TASS.
The comments come weeks after comments by a top Canadian government minister caught headlines worldwide. Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly made the remark while discussing Western sanctions on Russia, and said she was “seeing potential regime change in Russia”. Underlining the point and making it clear that’s what Canada wanted, Joly continued: “The goal is definitely to do that, is to weaken Russia’s ability to launch very difficult attacks against Ukraine. We want also to make sure that Putin and his enablers are held to account.”
Russia’s ambassador to Canada dismissed the comments at the time, claiming the government’s actions enjoyed the support of a majority of Russians and that Western politicians were blind to that.
Now, Russia threatens the country “reserved the right” to take action “depending on the further steps of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ruling regime in the context of his declared policy of confrontation with Russia”. Calling the regime change comments a “Russophobic attack”, the Russian state said they would have “the most serious consequences for bilateral relations”.
The top Canadian diplomat, Brian Ebel, was summoned by the Kremlin this morning to receive a “strong protest” against Joly’s words earlier in March.
While the Joly comments were a first in terms of a top NATO leader saying the words “regime change” out loud, they do not appear to be uncharacteristic in terms of intent. U.S. President Biden said shortly after the invasion began in 2022 that “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power”.