Australia should move quickly to expel Russian diplomats as a part of its suite of actions against the government of Vladimir Putin and its invasion of Ukraine, the Australian Labor Party says.
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese said European countries, including France, Germany, and Italy, have booted 206 Russian diplomats and their staff out of their respective countries and that Australia should do the same.
He said ambassadors have been allowed to stay in most cases despite much of the Russian diplomatic corps being given marching orders.
“Foreign minister Marise Payne has said that the matter is being kept under review… at the highest levels of the government,” Albanese said.
“It is hard to conceive how the decision can be made to allow these individuals to stay, given the sickening abuses being carried out by Russian forces.
“Labor supports all efforts to ensure these crimes are thoroughly investigated and prosecuted through the International Criminal Court process, including the provision of Australian experts to assist the investigation.”
The opposition’s call for the removal of Russian diplomats comes following the withdrawal of Russian troops from Western Ukraine with evidence of the indiscriminate killing of civilians and bombing of buildings left in their wake.
That call for the expulsion of diplomats also comes after the US and the EU introduced additional sanctions following revelations of further Russian atrocities.
“Today, the United States, with the G7 and the European Union, will continue to impose severe and immediate economic costs on the Putin regime for its atrocities in Ukraine, including in Bucha,” US president Joe Biden said.
“We will document and share information on these atrocities and use all appropriate mechanisms to hold accountable those responsible.”
Biden said that the US will ban new investment in Russia, introduce much tougher sanctions on the financial institutions in that country, as well as state-owned enterprises.
New sanctions announced overnight also impact on Russian officials and their families.
“These sweeping financial sanctions follow our action earlier this week to cut off Russia’s frozen funds in the United States to make debt payments,” Biden said.
“Importantly, these measures are designed to reinforce each other to generate intensifying impact over time.”
The UN has taken action against Russia overnight by removing it from the United Nations Human Rights Council following recent revelations of atrocities committed by Russia in various parts of Ukraine.
Russia was booted off the Human Right Council following the support of 93 nations that form a part of the 193-member assembly.
There were 24 countries that voted against the motion including Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Syria and Vietnam.
India was among the 58 countries that abstained from the decision to remove Russia from the human rights body.
Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya appealed to members of the General Assembly to vote for the resolution.
“Bucha and dozens of other Ukrainian cities and villages, where thousands of peaceful residents have been killed, tortured, raped, abducted and robbed by the Russian Army, serve as an example of how dramatically far the Russian Federation has gone from its initial declarations in the human rights domain,” Ksylytsya said.
“That is why this case is unique and today’s response is obvious and self-explanatory.”