Australia

Russia-Australia relations at ‘lowest point in decades’, Russian ambassador says ahead of Penny Wong meeting

The relationship between Russia and Australia has reached the lowest point in decades because of the government’s support for Ukraine, the Russian ambassador says.
Foreign Minister will soon come face-to-face with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov for the first time since the invasion of Ukraine in February.
Senator Wong is attending a G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Bali this week and the talks are expected to be overshadowed by the war in Ukraine and Mr Lavrov’s presence.
The Group of 20 includes Western countries which have accused Moscow of war crimes in Ukraine and rolled out sanctions and those like China, Indonesia, India and South Africa which have not followed suit.

The Australian government’s decision to impose sanctions on Russia and Russian nationals and provide lethal and non-lethal military aid to Ukraine was “very sad”, Russia’s ambassador to Australia Aleksey Pavlovsky said.

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“I wish I could say something positive about Russian-Australian relations but they have reached probably the lowest point in decades,” he told ABC radio on Thursday.
“Whatever cooperation we had has been destroyed by the Australian side without really giving much thought to what Australia’s interests were.
“(It is) just for the sake of moving in lockstep with its allies and this is really sad.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visited Ukraine’s capital Kyiv earlier this week to express Australia’s solidarity with the war-torn country.

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Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor to Ukraine’s battle to oust the invading Russian army and has provided a total of $390 million in military and humanitarian assistance. It has also sanctioned 843 individuals and 62 Russian entities.

Former Russian president issues nuclear warning

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has told the United States that attempts by the West to punish a nuclear power such as Russia for the war in Ukraine risked endangering humanity.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered the most serious crisis in relations between Russia and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when many people feared the world was on the brink of nuclear war.
Mr Medvedev cast the United States as an empire which had spilled blood across the world, citing the killing of Native Americans, US nuclear attacks on Japan and a host of wars ranging from Vietnam to Afghanistan.

Attempts to use courts or tribunals to investigate Russia’s actions in Ukraine would, Mr Medvedev said, be futile and risk global devastation.

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“The idea of punishing a country that has one of the largest nuclear potentials is absurd. And potentially poses a threat to the existence of humanity,” Mr Medvedev, who now serves as deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, said on Telegram.
Russia and the United States control about 90 per cent of the world’s nuclear warheads, with around 4,000 warheads each in their military stockpiles, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

While president from 2008 to 2012, Mr Medvedev presented himself as a reformer who wanted better relations with the West. But since President Vladimir Putin ordered the 24 February invasion, he has recast himself as a vociferous Kremlin hardliner.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (left) and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (centre).

“The whole of American history, starting with the conquest of the Native Indians, is a bloody war of annihilation,” he said.

US President Joe Biden says Mr Putin is a war criminal who launched an illegal invasion of Ukraine. The United States is supplying arms to Ukraine which says it is fighting for its survival.
Russia says what it calls “a special military operation” is intended to degrade the Ukrainian military and root out people it calls dangerous nationalists. Mr Putin says the United States was using Ukraine to threaten Russia.

Mr Medvedev said the United States had killed millions of people across the world since World War II.

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