Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Canada’s choice of Russia critic as top diplomat seen as a bold move

Canada’s appointment of an outspoken Russia critic currently under sanctions from Moscow is a bold move by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he seeks to improve strained relations between the two countries. Chrystia Freeland, who is of Ukrainian descent and fluent in Russian, was made Canada’s top diplomat as part of the first major cabinet shuffle of Trudeau’s 14-month-old Liberal government. Her sharp criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression toward Ukraine and deep knowledge of the region could be a double-edged sword as Canada looks to reset relations with the Kremlin after years of tough talk about Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Freeland’s appointment to the foreign affairs file may be further complicated after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who has repeatedly praised Putin, is inaugurated on Jan. 20.



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