UK

Russia Trolls Canada Over Ukraine Map Spat

29/08/2014 13:00 BST

One of Ukraine's Western allies has intervened in its proxy, undeclared war against Russia - on Twitter.

Canada, or more specifically the Twitter account for Canada's mission to Nato, harnessed the awesome power of its 9,898 followers to mock Russia for sending its military into the neighbouring country, which is struggling to hold itself together as it fights pro-Russian separatists and now, regular Russian military forces.

In Russia's latest denial of inciting violence in eastern Ukraine, the former superpower told Reuters that its soldiers were only there because they were "lost" and "accidentally" crossed the border.

Canada's NATO mission tweeted a map of the two countries, with Russia marked as "Russia" and Ukraine marked as "not Russia".

"Geography can be tough," the tweet said. "Here's a guide for Russian soldiers who keep getting lost and 'accidentally' entering Ukraine."

But Russia's mission to the Nato, which dwarves Canada's follower count with 177,000, replied by tweeting a map that showed Crimea as Russian, not Ukrainian territory.

Russia forcibly annexed the peninsula earlier this year, in the early days of the burgeoning crisis between the two countries.

The tweet was sent out in English and Russian - and the two versions went down very differently on Twitter.

Reaction in English was universally negative.

One Tweeter compared their seizure of Crimea with the Nazi invasion of Poland, while others criticised Russia's assertion it owned Crimea now.

The tweet in Russian meanwhile, appears to have receive a smaller but more positive reaction.

The Canadian tweet is not the country's first criticism of Russia over the Ukraine situation.

"Russia's acts of aggression and intimidation toward Ukraine call for collective action," the country's Foreign Minister John Baird said on Tuesday.

"Canada, together with its like-minded allies, must clearly speak out."

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