National News

Russian envoy blasts Harper as posting ends

By The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - The departing Russian ambassador to Canada says Moscow would consider it provocative if Ottawa joined the U.S. ballistic missile defence shield.

Russian Ambassador Georgiy Mamedov tells The Canadian Press that such a move would further aggravate relations between the two countries, already strained by the crisis in Ukraine.

Mamedov says Canada would be wasting money if it opted to participate in the defence shield — something a Senate committee recommended to the government earlier this week.

That was one of several political punches the often-outspoken Mamedov threw at the Conservatives in a wide-ranging interview as he leaves his Ottawa post this coming week after 11 years.

The minority Liberal government of Paul Martin opted out of the U.S. missile defence program in 2005 in the face of domestic political pressure.

The shield's main purpose is to shoot down incoming nuclear warheads from the likes of North Korea or Iran, but Russia also considers it a threat.

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