Trudeau urges ‘firm response’ to Russia

RIGA: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday urged Nato to send a “clear and firm response” to Russia at its summit this week, blaming Moscow for a deadly nerve agent attack in Britain and other destabilising actions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “invasion of Crimea, his interference in the Donbass, his actions elsewhere around the world… most notably on UK soil, in Salisbury, are things that require a clear and firm response,” Trudeau told reporters in the Latvian capital Riga.
A key Nato summit opens in Brussels on Wednesday, with the agenda including US President Donald Trump’s demands for extra spending from allies along with the growing threat members see from Russia on its eastern flank.
Britain on Monday accused Russia of causing the death of a homeless British woman from exposure to the nerve agent Novichok.
The fatality follows the poisoning of a former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury in March. They have since recovered.
“We certainly hope that Russia will choose to become a more positive actor in the global sphere than it has chosen to be in the past years,” Trudeau added.
The Kremlin, meanwhile, on Tuesday branded Nato a relic of the Cold War.
Trudeau also said that Canada would extend its leadership of the Nato battalion based in Latvia until 2023 and boost the number of its troops deployed there from 455 to 540. Canada leads one of four battalions deployed by the Western defence alliance on its eastern flank in 2017 in a deterrence and defence posture following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. — AFP