05/26/2011 04:22 EDT | Updated 07/26/2011 05:12 EDT

Russian Ambassador Anton Vasiliev Responds To Criticism Over Arctic Mission

(CP) - OTTAWA - A senior Russian diplomat says the Harper government's pointed public criticisms of his country's motives in the Arctic are not grounded in reality.

Russia's ambassador-at-large for Arctic issues, Anton Vasiliev, is firing back at the frequent complaints that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his cabinet ministers have levelled at Russia for what they see as provocative behaviour in the Arctic.

That has included former foreign minister Lawrence Cannon blasting a planned Russian parachute jump that was to take place in April 2010 as a "stunt" and an exercise in "propaganda."

Vasiliev tells The Canadian Press that shows a "lack of knowledge of reality."

He says the good co-operation that Russia has enjoyed with its neighbour Norway in the Arctic should serve as an example to Canada.

He says there's enormous potential for Canada and Russia to be good partners in the Far North.