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Russia summons Canadian envoy in Moscow over ‘undisguised robbery’ of cargo plane

OTTAWA — Moscow has again summoned Canada’s top diplomat in Russia, this time over the Trudeau government’s seizure of a massive Russian cargo plane.

Russia says it has summoned Canadian chargé d’affaires Brian Ebel to tell him that Ottawa’s plans risk “the most serious repercussions.”

It comes two days after Moscow warned relations with Canada were “on the verge of being severed” over the issue, and three months after the Kremlin summoned the same diplomat over Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly’s remarks about regime change in Russia.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Kyiv, Ukraine, on the weekend, where he announced that Canada officially seized an airplane that had been sitting on the tarmac at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport since February 2022.

In an English-language statement posted Thursday, Moscow says the move “amounts to an attempt at undisguised robbery” and that the plane has been “seized in a disgraceful manner,” as Ottawa moves to transfer the plane or its value to Ukraine.

A year ago, Canada became the first G7 country to enact a law that allows Ottawa to not just seize assets held by sanctioned people, but to forfeit the property and divert the proceeds to victims of a sanctioned regime.

The law has never been used, but Trudeau said Ottawa plans to begin the process to forfeit the massive Antonov AN-124 from the Russia firm Volga-Dnepr and divert the funds or the aircraft itself to support Ukraine.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 15, 2023.

Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press

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