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Russia’s Australia envoy warns: Western support of Ukraine could lead to war

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“We think that such expressions of support are very dangerous because they lead to provocations, they lead to war,” he said.

Dr Pavlovsky also claimed Russia was not being aggressive by massing troops on the border with Ukraine.

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“Our troops are not a threat. They are a warning to Ukraine not to try any reckless military adventures, not to interpret the support they have from the West as carte blanche to do such crazy things,” he said.

The ambassador attacked Defence Minister Peter Dutton’s earlier description of Russian President Vladimir Putin as an increasingly irrational and ageing dictator.

“If such is the level of analysis informing Australian policy, then it is definitely a worrying sign,” Dr Pavlovsky said.

“Australians definitely are entitled to more meaningful understanding of the situation than comic book style propaganda like Batman versus Joker.”

A serviceman checks his machine-gun in a shelter on the territory controlled by pro-Russian militants on the frontline with Ukrainian government forces.

Source: AP

Australia earlier this week evacuated some diplomatic staff and their families from Ukraine and upgraded its advice to “do not travel”.

Dr Pavlovsky accused the Morrison government of “fanning hysteria” from thousands of miles away.

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Federal authorities earlier suggested Australia could look to help supply gas to Europe should Russia decide to cut supplies.

Dr Pavlovsky wished Australia “good luck” in entering the European gas market.

The last time a Russian ambassador to Australia held a press conference was in 2018.

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Russia to review US, NATO response

Dr Pavlovsky’s comments come after the United States and NATO submitted written responses to Russia’s demands for a redrawing of post-Cold War security arrangements in Europe since it massed troops near Ukraine, prompting Western fears of an invasion and new US pledges of defence support.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday said Moscow needed time for review and would not rush to conclusions, but that US and NATO statements describing Russia’s main demands as unacceptable did not leave much room for optimism.

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“Based on what our (US and NATO) colleagues said yesterday, it’s absolutely clear that on the main categories outlined in those draft documents … we cannot say that our thoughts have been taken into account or that a willingness has been shown to take our concerns into account,” Mr Peskov said.

“But we won’t rush with our assessments.”

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The nuanced Kremlin reaction showed Russia was not rejecting the US and NATO responses out of hand or closing the door to diplomacy. Washington says it and its allies hope Russia will study their responses and come back to the negotiating table.

With additional reporting by Reuters.

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