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10 March 2022

Independent Senator Rex Patrick today renewed his call for the Australian Government to expel Russia’s Ambassador along with all Russian diplomatic personnel suspected of espionage activity. 

“The latest news of Russian war crimes in Ukraine including indiscriminate attacks of civilians leaves no doubt that the Russian regime has chosen to place their country outside the company of civilised nations,” Senator Patrick said.” 

"The Russian bombing of a children's hospital in Mariupol is but the latest atrocity and more can be expected." 

“The Russian military have also now confirmed the use of thermobaric weapons. The use of these devastating fuel-air explosives in urban areas will unquestionably violate the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons which outlaws a wide range of barbaric weaponry.”

“Barbarism is what President Putin’s regime is engaged in across Ukraine. Aggressive war is a war crime.  So too are the terrorist tactics employed by the Russian forces engaged in this war of aggression.” 

“In these circumstances Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s argument that it is necessary to keep the Russian Ambassador in Canberra to maintain a ‘direct line of communication with the Russian government’ sends precisely the wrong signal to Moscow.” 

“It suggests that no matter what President Putin does, Australia still wants to talk to his henchmen. Yet there is no evidence whatsoever that the Australian Government’s ‘direct line of communication’ has any influence or value whatsoever.” 

“Australia should immediately expel Russia’s Ambassador in Canberra, Alexey Pavlovsky, their Consul-General in Sydney, Igor Arzhaev, and other senior Russian diplomatic and consular personnel including all suspected of working for the Russian intelligence services, the SVR and GRU.” 

“A wholesale cleaning out of Russia’s diplomatic and consular presence in Australia would send a very clear message about the utter unacceptability of Russian war crimes. This would set a good example for other nations about how to deal with Moscow."  

“This would also have the added advantage of disrupting Russian intelligence operations in Australia. This will harm their intelligence collection activities and efforts to evade international sanctions. Russian spies should not be allowed to continue their activities here under diplomatic cover.”