ScoMo responds as tensions between Russia and Ukraine rise
Australia will work with America and the United Kingdom in attempting to deter Russia from “whatever action” they are considering taking against Ukraine, but no requests are “anticipated” to be made.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia was closely following the escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine closely, and consular assistance was being provided to the 1400 Australians who live in Ukraine.
“We are very mindful of that issue and their safety that we provide them,” Mr Morrison said on Thursday afternoon
“It is obviously a tense situation and it’s one that we will continue to work with our partners in terms of any response that we are making, but there has been no request made and none are anticipated.”
The world is watching for Russia’s next move, with US President Joe Biden conceding on Wednesday he thought Russian President Vladimir Putin would invade Ukraine.
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Mr Morrison’s comments came after Defence Minister Peter Dutton said earlier he and Foreign Minister Marise Payne were looking forward to welcoming their UK counterparts to Australia for face-to-face meetings this week.
The meetings will be dominated a major submarine agreement, as well as how the two countries can tackle the escalating tensions in Ukraine.
The United Kingdom has announced it will supply Ukraine with “self-defence” weapons, fuelled by fears a Russian invasion is imminent.
Mr Dutton said Australia was on standby to support the UK in deterring aggressive behaviour.
“The United Kingdom will play a big role in trying to deter Russia in whatever action they’re thinking about in regard to the Ukraine,” Mr Dutton told 4BC radio on Thursday.
“That’s a huge concern for the UK and for the world at the moment. Everyone’s watching those steps closely.”
Mr Dutton said while Australia did not have the capability as a “small country” to tackle a nation like Russia with its “big military machines” on its own, there were decades of precedent set by relations with the US and the UK.
“If we’re going to deter countries from aggressive behaviour, then we’re best to do that with strong friends and allies and we have that in the UK in the US,” he said.
US President Joe Biden’s concession that Vladimir Putin would “move in” on Ukraine has sent shockwaves around the world.
“I’m not so sure he (Mr Putin) is certain what he is going to do,” Mr Biden said overnight.
“My guess is he will move in. he has to do something. He is trying to find his place in the world between China and the West.”
Mr Biden’s comments have been met with backlash, with Ukrainian officials claiming he had all-but given the “green light” for Vladimir Putin to enter Ukraine at his pleasure.
Mr Biden has confirmed the US is prepared to enforce sanctions against Russia if its troops invade Ukraine.
Originally published as ScoMo responds as tensions between Russia and Ukraine rise
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