SYDNEY, June 26 (Reuters) – A Russian diplomat squatting on land set aside for a future Russian embassy in Australia has left after a court ruled that Moscow had no claim to the site near the national parliament in Canberra.
Australia on June 15 canceled Russia’s lease to build a new embassy citing national security, drawing criticism from the Kremlin, which said the move by Canberra reflected its anti-Russian sentiment.
A Russian diplomat subsequently moved into a temporary building on the site and police were unable to arrest him because he had diplomatic immunity, local media reported.
The High Court on Monday rejected Moscow’s appeal to hold onto the site and Syair Sdy shortly afterwards the squatter left the site, SBS News reported.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his government welcomed the High Court’s decision, adding: “We expect the Russian Federation to act in accordance with the court’s ruling.”
Relations between Moscow and Canberra have deteriorated sharply since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb.24, 2022.
Australia is one of the largest non-NATO contributors to the West’s support for Ukraine and has been supplying aid, ammunition and defence equipment and has banned exports of alumina and aluminium ores, including bauxite, to Russia.(Reporting by Lewis Jackson Editing by Gareth Jones)