(OTTAWA) Russia has summoned a senior Canadian diplomat to Moscow over Foreign Minister Melanie Joly’s thoughts on “regime change.”

According to state media, Moscow summoned Canadian Chargé d’Affaires Brian Ebel on Monday to tell him that Minister Joly’s comments were unacceptable.

Ms. Joly said earlier this month that Western sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have paid off, as the world sees effects “on society and how much we see a change potential regime in Russia”.

When La Presse Canadienne asked Ms. Joly if Ottawa now wanted regime change in Moscow, she replied that Canada was focused on punishing the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin, rather than the Russians who live under his rule.

Moscow has warned it will further damage diplomatic relations, after a slump in trade and a series of summonses from both sides over issues such as Ottawa providing security for Russian diplomats and the Russian embassy posting messages on social media. that target the LGBTQ community.

Russia also argues that interference in internal affairs violates the 1961 Vienna Convention which governs diplomatic relations.