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​Russian Embassy Labels Australia’s Sanctions ‘Xenophobic’

​Russian Embassy Labels Australia’s Sanctions ‘Xenophobic’

Russia has a very different take on Australia's track record with bullies.

Vivienne Kelly

Vivienne Kelly

The war of words between Australia and Russia has escalated.

Yesterday (February 23), Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced he would be placing economic and travel sanctions on key individuals and entities involved in the escalating conflict with Ukraine.

Australia also followed the US in implementing financial sanctions on the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Morrison said Australia had 'always stood up to bullies' and labelled the country's recent actions 'unwarranted', 'unprovoked' and 'unacceptable'.

Scott Morrison and Vladimir Putin.

The Russian embassy, however, has accused Ukraine of bullying the people living in the 'breakaway' regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

It also alleged there was an 'imminent threat of ethnic cleansing' by Ukrainian authorities.

It also had a vastly different narrative than Morrison when it came to Australia's record with taking a stand against bullies.

"Contrary to what the Prime Minister of Australia asserted today, Australia does not always stand up to the bullies," the embassy said.

"Canberra has been totally indifferent to the discrimination of the Russian speakers by the radical nationalistic regime in Ukraine and to the plight of civilians in Donbass living for years under blockade and constant shelling from the Ukrainian military.

"Recently discovered evidence show that people often couldn't even properly bury the dead.

"In alignment with its key partners, Canberra has played its part in supporting and encouraging the xenophobic bullies based in Kyiv [Ukraine's capital]."

Russia and Ukraine flags
Russia and Ukraine flags

Morrison conceded this morning that Australia's actions were unlikely to sway Russia's decisions or actions in any way, but contended that action was required anyway.

"But from our point of view, we have to send a very clear message that people who treat international borders and international law like this need to be singled out, isolated and called out," he said on the Today show this morning.

"And that's what I've been seeking to do.

"It's not enough to just say, 'Well, we'd like them to step back and we'd like them to not pursue this'.

"We have to denounce specifically that they have bo just cause here, Russia.

"There's no provocation from Ukraine.

"There's no legitimate interest that Russia is pursuing here.

"This is straight out threatening violence to get what they want."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Ukraine, News, Australia, Russia