Two Canadian diplomats have been asked to leave their posts in Russia for "engaging in activities inconsistent with their status", which is usually understood to be an allegation of spying. The press department of the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday, December 9, that this decision was probably connected with the recent expulsion of two Russian diplomats from Canada.
According to Reuters, the press secretary of the Canadian Foreign Ministry has denied allegations that the Canadian diplomats were involved in any kind of espionage: 'Russia simply felt obliged to expel two diplomats, whose behaviour has been irreproachable.' The Canadian authorities have not said who the two diplomats were although Canadian newspaper 'The Ottawa Citizen' has suggested that one of them might be First Secretary of the Canadian Embassy in Moscow Guillaume Siemienski.
This is not the first such incident concerning Russian diplomats in Canada. In January 2001 a woman was killed in a car accident in Ottawa and the Russian diplomat driving the car was found guilty of drunk driving. The Canadian authorities asked the Russian Foreign Ministry to take away his immunity from prosecution but the ministry decided instead to bring the diplomat back to Russia where he faced charges under Russian law.