Thursday, Australia stopped Russia from erecting a new embassy in the shadow of Parliament House after intelligence authorities said it constituted a risk for surveillance and a threat to the country’s security.
A new Russian embassy is now being constructed on a plot of land that is leased by Russia and is located in the vicinity of the Australian legislative complex in Canberra. The distance between the two is approximately 400 meters, or 0.25 miles.
The Australian government, however, was unable to stop the construction of the new building through the legal system, so on Thursday they introduced new legislation that were designed explicitly to stop construction.
Following a meeting of Australia’s National Security Committee, the Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, stated that the regulations were quickly drafted and drafted jointly.
He informed the media that the government had gotten very clear security advise on the risk presented by a new Russian presence so near to Parliament House. “The government has received very clear security advice,” he explained.
“We are moving quickly to prevent the lease site from being used for a formal diplomatic presence,” the statement read.
Following the revelation, a Russian ambassador revealed to AFP that “the embassy is seeking legal advice” in response to the news.
The new regulations, which were approved with backing from both the Labor Party and the Liberal Party, do not prevent Russia from having a diplomatic presence in Australia; rather, they prohibit Russia from constructing so near to parliament.
In addition, the Act considers the possibility that Russia will be entitled to monetary reparations.
– Capable, aggressive, and unrestrained in their behavior –
It was plausible, according to counterintelligence specialist and former FBI agent Dennis Desmond, to anticipate that Russia would use the proposed embassy site as a base from which to spy on Australian politicians.
“The decision to place an embassy in a location obviously has very specific intent behind it,” he told AFP. “The decision to place an embassy in a location”
“They will employ a wide variety of strategies and methods,” the sentence reads.
Desmond indicated that this may involve signals intelligence as well as following Australian government leaders.
Alex Bristow, a former ambassador for the United Kingdom who now works for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, suggested that it was probable that the government had been provided with a “emphatic” warning by intelligence services.
“Given the proximity, it could be some form of electronic surveillance operating out of the embassy,” he stated. “[T]he embassy is right there.”
“Russia has some of the largest, most capable, most aggressive, and least constrained intelligence services in the world,” he stated at the time.
“And they’re given leeway that we would never give to a Western intelligence service.”
Albanese stated that he was prepared for some sort of reaction from Russia.
“We don’t expect Russia to be in a position to talk about international law, given their rejection of it so consistently and so brazenly with their invasion of Ukraine,” he added. “We don’t expect Russia to be in a position to talk about international law.”
– Agreement was canceled – Russia was awarded building authority in 2011 after acquiring the lease to the unkempt paddock in 2008 under an agreement with the National Capital Authority, an arm of the federal government. However, the agreement has since been canceled.
It had intended to relocate there from its existing location, which is a massive brick structure in an unfashionable section of the city that overlooks a tavern, a gas station, and a funeral home.
The construction has moved forward at a snail’s pace, and the site is still littered with debris and unassembled components of the structure.
Despite the fact that the administration was initially content with the plans, it has been frantically working to scrap them ever since ties with Russia have worsened as a direct result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The earlier effort to annul the lease was rejected by the federal court a month ago, which prompted the shift towards national security laws.