Scott Morrison signals Australia will take further action against Russia

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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has accused Russia's embassy in Australia of spreading nonsense and engaging in bullying, denying claims its ambassador was told to leave Australia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has denied Russia's ambassador to Australia was told to leave.

The Russian ambassador, Alexey Pavlovsky, met with the secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Kathryn Campbell, on Wednesday afternoon following the announcement of sanctions but was not told to leave the country.

Australia and its allies hit Russia with travel bans and financial sanctions in response to what world leaders called an invasion of Ukraine's sovereignty as fears grow that Moscow will launch a wider offensive against the country.

Mr. Morrison said on Thursday morning Australia reserved the right to take further action but its response was "one step at a time" and it would continue to work "lockstep with the United States and the United Kingdom".

Mr. Morrison spoke with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on Wednesday night and reaffirmed Australia's "unwavering commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and denounced Russia's aggressive behaviour towards Ukraine as unacceptable, unprovoked, and unwarranted".

The Prime Minister said Russia seems "quite intent on following through on their threats of violence" and any decisions on military action would be a matter for NATO.

"[Putin] clearly looks very intent on taking his opportunity here," Mr Morrison told ABC Radio National.

He praised the decision of the German government to halt certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which was crucial to Moscow's plans to increase energy sales to Europe.

"It's very important for countries not to get caught up in economic relationships that leave them open to coercion......Those who favour a world order that favours freedom need to stand up for it."

Mr Morrison said there were 185 Australian citizens registered as being in Ukraine but the number was higher - about 1400 - when people with dual citizenship were included.


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