Australia has moved towards initiating legislation that would abolish Russia’s lease for a prospective embassy in Canberra, the nation’s capital, citing critical security risks.
This step comes in the aftermath of a prolonged legal wrangle over the leased plot. The Federal Court previously nullified an eviction order from the National Capital Authority, the body responsible for planning the national capital.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese explained that the government received stark security advice about the threat posed by an enhanced Russian diplomatic footprint near the Parliament House. He stressed, “Let’s be unambiguous. The decision is grounded in Australia’s national security interests.”
The government’s swift action aimed to prevent the leased plot from becoming an official diplomatic establishment. The current situation won’t affect Russia’s existing embassy in Canberra.
In 2008, Russia secured the lease and received approval for their plans in 2011. However, Australian media reports suggest the National Capital Authority held the Russian embassy accountable for leaving the plot unused.
Clare O’Neil, Home Affairs Minister, stated the primary concern with the proposed additional Russian embassy was its proximity to the Parliament House. Albanese confirmed his government is bracing for a Russian response and assured, “We will patiently wait for their reaction.”
He went on to voice skepticism about Russia’s regard for international law, citing their aggressive action in Ukraine. Australia is among the most significant non-NATO contributors to western aid for Ukraine, supplying ammunition and defence equipment, along with prohibiting exports of alumina and aluminium ores, such as bauxite, to Russia.
Australia has offered millions in military aid to Ukraine and imposed sanctions on over 1,000 Russian entities and individuals since the onset of the conflict.
This news is based on an article by the star.