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  • Rikki Lambert

Johnson says Putin must fail in Ukraine as Morrison encourages Zelenskiy

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine has to fail and must be seen to fail.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged other leaders to join a six-point plan to respond to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, ranging from humanitarian support to inflicting the most economic pain possible on Moscow.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskiy that Australia stands with his country against Russian aggression. In an official readout of the telephone call, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told Mr Morrison he deeply appreciates Australia's military and humanitarian assistance after his country was invaded by Russian forces.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne had earlier expressed Australia's concerns over shelling and a fire at a building near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant on Friday. The fire was extinguished and international nuclear experts later said the facility was safe, with no radiation spikes reported.

Australia is also supporting resolutions in the United Nations and backing International Criminal Court action in support of Ukraine.

The government has told superannuation funds it has a "strong expectation" they would review their investment portfolios and divest any holdings of Russian assets. On Friday, the South Australian Labor opposition declared that, if elected on 19 March, it would divest public servants' compulsory Super SA fund of all Russian assets.

Australian Labor shadow defence minister Brendan O'Connor told Sky News on Sunday morning:

"... this is a horrific situation, almost unprecedented for Europe since the second World War, an aggressive, unlawful invasion of an independent sovereign state.
"I believe that Australia, the Australian government has done the right thing in responding to requests from Ukraine and from NATO countries, the United States and others to join the condemnation and as a consequence, take appropriate action. And that includes lethal and non-lethal aid to Ukraine.
"Now our hopes, of course, are that through such action we will see an end to this violence and this conflict. And of course, until we see anything like that, we need to ratchet up the pressure. So if the government has any other options insofar as increased sanctions, whether it's targeting the oligarchs or whether it's providing lethal aid through NATO, Labor supports that."

Ahead of meetings with leaders from Canada, the Netherlands and Central Europe in London next week, British PM Johnson issued a statement on Saturday urging that Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion had to fail and be seen to fail:

"It is not enough to express our support for the rules-based international order - we must defend it against a sustained attempt to rewrite the rules by military force."

Britain's PM listed his objectives, including an international humanitarian coalition for Ukraine, support for its self-defence and maximising economic pressure on Moscow.

Johnson also called for diplomatic paths for de-escalation with the full involvement of Ukraine's government, stronger security in the European-Atlantic area, and an end to the "creeping normalisation" of Russian activities in Ukraine.

After meeting the prime ministers of Canada and the Netherlands on Monday, Johnson is due to host leaders from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia - countries experiencing an influx of refugees caused by the invasion - on Tuesday.

Britain is planning to move more quickly to sanction Russian businessmen through new legal measures which will be sent to parliament on Monday. 


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