Sunday, October 2, 2022

Australia moves embassy staff to western Ukraine amid fears Russian invasion is imminent

The Australian government will evacuate its embassy in Kyiv, amid warnings a Russian invasion of Ukraine is increasingly imminent and Prime Minister Scott Morrison warning the situation is deteriorating and reaching a “dangerous stage.”

The decision follows a similar move by the US State Department, which has ordered non-emergency embassy staff to leave Ukraine

Foreign Minister Marise Payne issued a statement on Sunday morning saying the government would move its operations to Lviv, a few hundred kilometers west of Kyiv and close to the Polish border.

“Given the deteriorating security situation caused by the build up of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border, the Government has directed the departure of staff at the Australian Embassy in Kyiv and temporarily suspended operations at our Embassy in Kyiv,” she said.

Ukrainian troops training in the snow.
With Ukraine preparing for an invasion, several nations have told their citizens to leave the country immediately., Associated Press: Efrem Lukatsky,

Russia has been increasing its troop deployment along the border with Ukraine, and has over 100,000 troops stationed in the region, but has consistently denied it intends to invade.

Mr Morrison on Sunday said while the families of Australian-based staff had already departed the region, three Australian staff had remained in the embassy.

“I want to thank particularly those three Australian-based staff who have been there supporting in a consular way the many Australians, many of whom are joint citizens, dual citizens, who are in Ukraine,” he said.

“And I want to send a very clear message on behalf of Australia, a liberal democracy who believes in freedom and the sovereignty of states, not just in Europe, but in our own region as well — that the autocratic, unilateral actions of Russia [are considered] to be threatening, and bullying Ukraine is something that is completely and utterly unacceptable.”

Senator Payne on Saturday again urged all Australians in Ukraine to leave the country, warning security conditions could change at short notice.

Marise Payne sits in front of a desk, a severe expression on her face.
Marise Payne says she has directed staff at the embassy in Ukraine to leave.,ABC News: Ian Cutmore,

“We continue to urge Russia to remain engaged in reciprocal diplomatic dialogue on what would be an extraordinary unilateral action.

“We support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We support a unified European and NATO response.

“And we are standing together with Ukraine at this very difficult time.”

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Nation World News Desk
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