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The Globe and Mail

Russian diplomat involved in Ottawa stabbing

A Ottawa Police officer walk under the police tape March 14, 2014 at a building lobby on Stewart Street in Ottawa.

Dave Chan/Dave Chan

Police are investigating a stabbing that involved a Russian diplomat at an Ottawa apartment building. In another twist, a member of the Canadian Forces was found by police inside the building with blood on him, according to a media report.

The strange incident occurred Friday morning at a high-rise building on Stewart Street near the Russian embassy, police said. A 44-year-old man suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and a second man was arrested Friday in connection with the incident. As of Friday evening, the second man was in custody but was not facing charges, police said.

Police would not comment on the individual taken into custody, but the Ottawa Citizen cited unnamed sources who said a member of the Canadian military was found naked in bed inside the apartment building after the diplomat fled. The newspaper said its sources indicated there was blood on the military man and a knife on the floor. Canada's Foreign Affairs Department said it had no indication that the incident was politically motivated – an apparent reference to the ongoing confrontation between the West and Moscow over Ukraine's southern region.

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Speaking to reporters on Friday, Ottawa Police Inspector Murray Knowles would not confirm whether the victim had a link to the Russian embassy, saying police don't typically comment on where the victim of a crime works. However, John Babcock, a Foreign Affairs spokesperson, said further questions "about the diplomat" should be directed to the Russian embassy. Officials at the embassy did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.

A spokesperson for the Canadian Forces military police confirmed that military police were asked to come to the scene by the Ottawa Police Service on Friday morning, but would not say whether a member of the military was involved. "It was quickly determined that the Ottawa Police Service is the force of jurisdiction in this matter," Captain Joanna Labonte wrote in an e-mailed statement.

Asked why the RCMP and military police were at the scene along with Ottawa police, Inspector Knowles replied, "There are lots of people associated [with] various embassies that live in here." He said police have co-operation from the victim "at this point" and declined to comment on reports that the stabbing was linked to a fight.

Police said "a couple of scenes" in the building had been secured for forensic investigation.

The Ottawa Citizen cited sources who said the victim was drinking with another person when an argument broke out. The newspaper said the person initially claimed his injuries came from dog bites and refused treatment.

Two cars with diplomatic plates were parked near the location of the incident in the national capital Friday morning, and a man who identified himself as a Russian interpreter arrived at the apartment building but was not immediately let inside. "We are disturbed by these reports and the department has been in touch with the Russian embassy," Mr. Babcock said. "We have confidence in the local authorities to do their work. … We have nothing to indicate this was a politically motivated incident in nature."

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