Anthony Albanese has vowed to stand up to Vladimir Putin’s aggression and hold him accountable for war crimes as he joined the international condemnation of Russia’s latest missile attack on Ukraine.
The Australian Prime Minister is in Madrid, where he sat down with Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez ahead of the NATO leaders’ summit which gets underway on Wednesday.
The meeting will bring together 30 member states and 25 partner nations, including Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand from the Asian-Pacific region.
Mr Albanese joined world leaders in condemning Russia’s missile strike on a crowded Ukrainian shopping centre on Monday, killing at least 18 people.
He said Russia’s atrocities in Ukraine have united the democratic world against Putin’s regime as NATO boosted its defence troops to more than 300,000.
‘We have no alternative but to stand up against Vladimir Putin’s aggression,’ he declared on Tuesday..
Smoke rises from the ruins of the Amstor shopping mall in the city of Kremenchuk, central Ukraine, after it was struck by long-range guided missiles that Ukraine says were fired by Russian bombers
‘If we don’t do that, the consequences for the international rule of law and the relationship between nation states which are sovereign, particular in Europe are dire indeed and the consequences of that extend to our region as well.
‘If Putin is allowed to proceed in a way in which nation states say ‘this is too difficult’ and not provide and not provide the support that has been provided to the people and democratically elected government of Ukraine, then it’s not just a matter of the message that are sent, the economic consequence down the track are for nation states, no matter where they are in the globe.’
He described the latest attack as ‘a tragic consequence’ of Putin’s reckless acts of violence and terror.
‘This is a civilian target,’ he said.
‘This reinforced the atrocities being committed in an illegal war of aggression by Russia and why it must be stopped.
‘It’s one of the reasons why I’m here at NATO, and (there) will be a focus on the democratic nations which make up NATO, and also the ‘Asia-Pacific Four’ who’ve been invited to this important forum.’
The renewed attacks in Ukraine may jeopardies Mr Albanese’s potential visit to its war-torn capital Kyiv later this week at the invitation of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Mr Albanese (pictured) joined world leaders in condemning Russia’s missile strike on a crowded Ukrainian shopping centre on Monday, killing at least 18 people
He described the latest attack (shopping mall in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, pictured) as ‘a tragic consequence’ of Putin’s reckless acts of violence and terror
The Prime Minister also revealed Australia is one of several Western nations looking to reopen its embassy in Kyiv.
The Australian embassy in the Ukrainian capital was shut down by the former Scott Morrison government shortly before Russia’s invasion in February.
‘We would like to have a presence on the ground there to assist and to be able to provide that on-ground presence, and I’ll have more to say on that in coming days and weeks,’ Mr Albanese said.
‘We would like to have a presence on the ground there to assist and be able to provide that on-ground presence.’
He added the democratic world’s response to the Russian’s invasion also sent a strong signal to China.
‘It requires the world to move towards peace and security, but to do so in a way which says that we are prepared as democratic nations to ensure that when something happens like the invasion of Ukraine, the world is prepared to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and provide practical and real support,’ Mr Albanese added.
Anthony Albanese has vowed to stand up to Vladimir Putin’s (pictured) aggression and hold him accountable for war crimes as he joined the international condemnation of Russia’s latest missile attack on Ukraine.
The Australian Prime Minister is in Madrid, where he sat down with Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez (pictured together) ahead of the NATO leaders’ summit which gets underway on Wednesday
It comes as NATO revealed its boost its defence forces and move to fortify borders against any Russian attack.
‘We will transform the NATO response force and increase the number of our high readiness forces to well over 300,000,’ NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.
It comes as the head of Britain’s armed forces declared the world was facing its ‘1937 moment’ and must be ready to ‘fight and win’ to ward off Putin.
Mr Albanese will also meet with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol while in Madrid.
He’s also hopeful free trade negotiations with the European Union may be revived in coming months following the former Morrison government’s diplomatic fallout with France.