Doorstop, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Canberra

Transcript, E&OE, proof only

Subjects: Developments in Ukraine

3 March 2014

JULIE BISHOP: I have asked the Russian Ambassador to come to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade today to explain the intentions of the Russian Government and also to give us an opportunity to officially register our concern.

In the meantime, Australia is a member of the UN Security Council, the Council has been meeting, there have been two meetings so far about this and we'll continue to provide our support for the cause, for international mediation. This must be resolved by Russia withdrawing its troops and all lines of communication should remain open.

JOURNALIST: Should any economic sanctions be considered by the Abbott Government?

JULIE BISHOP: At this point we are hoping that diplomacy and dialogue will resolve the situation but I am deeply concerned by the reports of the escalating military activity. In the meantime the Australian Government has increased the travel advisory warning and we suggest that Australians do not travel to Crimea, to Ukraine and that they exercise a very high degree of caution. We don't know where this is heading, it is very volatile at present but we're urging calm and discussion, dialogue and diplomacy.

JOURNALIST: Will Australia's Ambassador to Russia be brought back home?

JULIE BISHOP: No, at this stage we're taking it step-by-step. Australia's Ambassador is in Moscow. He is fulfilling a very important role, not only in consular matters but also being able to send messages to the Russian Government. We don't have representation in Ukraine so it's important that our Ambassador remain in Moscow at this point.

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