SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) – Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese declared on Friday that the site of a proposed Russian embassy is secure after it was revealed a Russian diplomat had squatted on the land as a result of the government’s decision to terminate the lease.
Australia passed a new law earlier this month to stop Russia from moving their embassy from Canberra to a prime location close to the Chinese Embassy and parliament. The reason given was national security.
A Russian diplomat squatted on a piece of land in Australia on Thursday, under the surveillance of the police. However, they were unable to arrest the diplomat due to his diplomatic immunity.
Albanese said at a press conference on Friday that "Australia will defend our values, and we will defend our national safety. A bloke sitting in the cold in Canberra on some grass is not a danger to our security."
The site is safe and we feel comfortable in our position.
The Russian Embassy in Canberra didn't immediately respond to our request for comment.
Moscow barred 48 Australians on Wednesday from entering Russia in retaliation to Australia's long-standing sanctions against the country.