TRU students weigh in on tensions between the West and Russia

After last month's chemical attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skirpal many want a peaceful resolution

Russia has already responded to the accusations by removing many foreign diplomats from their own country,
including several Canadians.

The tensions with Russia have continued to grow in the wake of Putin’s re-election. While Putin has had a lead in the polls, Russian diplomats continue to be exiled by U.S. and European countries.

The issues started when Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, was poisoned along with his daughter Yulia with a chemical nerve agent in the United Kingdom. The U.K. was the first country to expel Russian diplomats.

Since then, 60 Russian diplomats were given only one week to leave the United States, as U.S. authorities decided to close the Russian consulate in Seattle due to the Skripal case. Other countries to expel diplomats include Germany, France, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the Netherlands and Ukraine.

The White House has since released a statement on the expulsion of its Russian diplomats.

“The United States takes this action in conjunction with our NATO allies and partners around the world in response to Russia’s use of a military-grade chemical weapon on the soil of the United Kingdom. Today’s actions make the United States safer by reducing Russia’s ability to spy on Americans and to conduct covert operations that threaten America’s national security,” read the White House press release.

The total number of expelled diplomats is now around 180, with Russia now expelling American diplomats in response. Canadian and Russian relations have been negatively impacted as well due to the already standing accusations of Russia attempting to meddle with the Canadian election back in 2015. In the process, the Russian government has expelled four Canadian diplomats from their country in response.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has since called for Putin to directly answer for the attack.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to answer for Russia’s role in the nerve gas attack,” Trudeau said.

The next day, the Russian embassy tweeted its response, attempting to accuse the Prime Minister of “using confrontational and unproductive rhetoric.”

Here on campus, students were asked how they felt  about the tensions in Russia. Of 50 students interviewed,  84 per cent said weren’t aware of the rising tensions.

However, Thomas Macholan, a TRU student who came from Cambridge, U.K. and is now a second-year engineering student, believes that it has “no good ending”.

“The fact is is that we have been a time of peace for a while now and with social media being the way is,” he said. “There really is no way to keep a secret for long and with that, previous rival countries are always at each other’s throats, waiting for the day they get a reason to fight.”