Trudeau has harsh words for Putin after Helsinki summit, in contrast to Trump

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau avoided calling out U.S. President Donald Trump by name over his behaviour during Monday's controversial news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But, unlike Trump, he had harsh words for the Russian president.

PM repeats Canada's opposition to Russian behaviour in Crimea, Ukraine, Syria and U.K.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces a $90 million improvement to the Trans-Canada Highway in northeastern Nova Scotia at Sutherlands River, N.S., on Tuesday. (Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau avoided calling out U.S. President Donald Trump by name over his behaviour during Monday's controversial news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But, in stark contrast to Trump, Trudeau had harsh words for the Russian president when asked by reporters about the Helsinki summit during a media availability in Nova Scotia Tuesday. 

"Canada has been unequivocal in our condemnation of Vladimir Putin and Russia," said Trudeau in Sutherlands River, N.S.

"Whether it's their illegal annexation of Crimea, their incursion into the Donbass in Ukraine and the fact that we're glad to have 200 Canadian soldiers there helping to train Ukrainian armies. Whether it's their interference in Syria and the support for the murderous Assad regime, whether it's what they were responsible for in the chemical weapons attack in Salisbury on U.K. soil against British nationals. Canada has always been clear."

When specifically asked about Trump, Trudeau reiterated his views on Putin.

"As I said, we condemn Russia and the way Vladimir Putin engages in international affairs," he said. 

During a high-profile meeting in Helsinki on Monday, Trump said he didn't see "any reason why" Russia would have interfered in the 2016 U.S. election, despite the findings from his own intelligence agencies.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a joint news conference after their meeting in Helsinki on Monday. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

When asked directly on Monday if he held Russia "accountable for anything," Trump said he held "both countries responsible."

That's sparked controversy around the world, including in Trump's own Republican Party.

Trump's meeting with Putin came just days after a special prosecutor in the United States indicted 12 Russian agents for stealing Democratic Party documents to help him win the vote.

Trudeau's comments come during one of the most tense periods in Canada-U.S. relations in recent years due to an ongoing trade war that has seen the U.S. impose tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum and Canada bring in retaliatory tariffs on dozens of U.S. goods July 1.

The U.S. served notice this week it was launching complaints against Canada and other nations at the World Trade Organization over their retaliatory tariffs.

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