December 10, 2022

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Australia evacuates its embassy in Kiev, invites China to speak on behalf of Ukraine

Australia evacuates its embassy in Kiev, invites China to speak on behalf of Ukraine

(Reuters) – Australia said on Sunday it was evacuating its embassy in Kiev as the situation deteriorated rapidly on the Russia-Ukraine border, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison called on China not to remain “appalling” about the crisis.

The United States and Europe have stepped up their warnings of an imminent attack by Russia on Ukraine, while the Kremlin, jostling for more influence in post-Cold War Europe, dismissed the joint EU-NATO diplomatic response to its demands to lower tensions as disrespectful. Read more

Foreign Minister Maris Payne said in a statement that Australian embassy staff in Kiev were directed to a temporary office in Lviv, a city in western Ukraine, about 70 kilometers (44 miles) from the border with Poland.

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“We continue to advise Australians to leave Ukraine immediately by commercial routes,” Payne said.

The situation has “reached a very dangerous stage,” Morrison said, adding that “the unilateral authoritarian actions of Russia to threaten and bully Ukraine are completely and utterly unacceptable.”

Morrison, whose government has frozen ties with China, also called on Beijing to speak on Ukraine’s behalf, after China criticized a meeting of the foreign ministers of the United States, Australia, Japan and India in Melbourne last week. Read more

“The Chinese government is happy to criticize Australia … but remains eerily silent about the build-up of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border,” Morrison told a news conference.

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“The coalition of authoritarian regimes we are seeing, which seeks to bully other countries, is not something that Australia takes a soft stance on.”

Relations between Australia and China, its biggest trading partner, have been strained after Canberra banned Huawei Technologies (HWT.UL) from its 5G broadband network in 2018, toughened laws against foreign political interference, and urged an independent investigation into the origins of COVID-19. 19.

(This story paraphrases a typo in the title)

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(Reporting by Lydia Kelly in Melbourne) Editing by Sandra Mahler

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.