OTTAWA — Canada has expelled two more Russian diplomats following the arrest earlier this month of a Canadian soldier charged with leaking secrets to a foreign entity, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
Canada’s Globe and Mail said the two diplomats had been removed from the list of envoys officially recognized by Canada, bringing the total number of Russian diplomats dropped this month from the list to six.
The paper cited sources saying Colonel Sergey Zhukov, the defence attaché for the Russian government in Ottawa, and Dmitry Gerasimov, a consulate worker in Toronto, were sent back to Russia.
Canada’s foreign ministry and the Russian embassy in Ottawa would not confirm the departures.
“As this matter relates to national security and is before the courts, we have no further comment,” a spokesman for Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told AFP.
In Moscow, the Russian foreign ministry has previously denied earlier reports of its diplomats leaving Canada over the spy scandal.
Canadian naval officer Jeffrey Paul Delisle, 40, has been accused of communicating over the past five years “with a foreign entity information that the government of Canada is taking measures to safeguard,” court documents revealed.
The charges were laid out under the Security of Information Act. Delisle also faces a breach of trust charge under the Criminal Code.
The offenses allegedly occurred in the capital Ottawa, Halifax and in towns in Ontario and Nova Scotia provinces, the court documents said.
Convictions under the security act carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.