Ukraine’s top diplomat in Canberra has called for the Russian ambassador to Australia to be “expelled” from Australia.
Ukrainian Embassy Chargé d’Affaires to Australia Volodymyr Shalkivskyi spoke at the National Press Club on Thursday amid Russia invading Ukraine two weeks ago.
“When you have more than 50 children killed in your country due to the shelling, yes, I’d like the Russia ambassador to be expelled,” he told the press club.
Shalkivskyi also called for a boycott of all Russian supplied goods and services in Australia and the federal government to ramp up efforts to counter Russian propaganda.
He said when the war ended, Ukraine would need some form of agreement with Russia and would need a third-party country to act as a guarantor.
“We will pursue this discussion, this dialogue, because we would like to be a free democratic liberal democratic country. We belong to the European family and there is no way we will give up,” Shalkivskyi said.
The speech came a day after Olena Zelenska, married to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, delivered a powerful open letter to the world’s media reiterating a call for NATO to shut the airspace over Ukraine, a move that has been refused.
“In cities where shelling persists, where people find themselves under debris, unable to get out of basements for days, we need safe corridors for humanitarian aid and evacuation of civilians to safety. We need those in power to close our sky,” Zelenska wrote.
Zelenska called the invasion the “mass murder” of Ukrainian civilians.
“Perhaps the most terrifying and devastating of this invasion are the child casualties,” she said.
“Eight-year-old Alice who died on the streets of Okhtyrka while her grandfather tried to protect her.
“Or Polina from Kyiv, who died in the shelling with her parents.
“Fourteen-year-old Arseniy was hit in the head by wreckage, and could not be saved because an ambulance could not get to him on time because of intense fires.
“When Russia says that it is ‘not waging war against civilians,’ I call out the names of these murdered children first.”