Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday urged Russia to “remain engaged” in dialogue amid tensions between Moscow and Kyiv.
Speaking at a news conference following a meeting of the National Security Committee of the Cabinet, Morrison said they discussed the “deteriorating” situation in Ukraine.
He said that this week the foreign ministers of Quad, comprising the US, India, Japan, and Australia, are going to meet and they will also discuss the Ukraine crisis as well.
“We would be urging Russia to remain engaged in the reciprocal dialogue. And any breach of Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty is not a mark of peace, it is a mark of those who would seek to take sovereignty from others for whom it should reside with,” he said.
Morrison reaffirmed his country’s support to Ukraine.
“Australia supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and their territorial integrity. And we will continue to stand with them on these issues and continue to engage with our partners on these very difficult issues as they continue to evolve,” he said.
Morrison has once again urged Australians still in Ukraine to leave the country.
“All Australians in Ukraine, we have endeavoured to contact them all over the last few weeks, with a very clear message – now is the time to leave,” he said.
Russian forces in 2014 invaded the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine and annexed the Crimean Peninsula.
Moscow is now said to have amassed thousands of troops near Ukraine’s borders, prompting fears that it could be planning another military offensive.
The US and its allies have warned of an imminent attack and threatened Russia with “severe consequences” if it further invades Ukraine.
But Moscow has denied that it is preparing to invade Ukraine and said its troops are there for exercises.
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