Australian court rejects Russia’s attempt to stop embassy eviction

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By Webdesk

Squatter seen leaving the premises near the parliament building that the government has refused due to a security risk.

An Australian court has rejected a Russian claim to stop his eviction from a site in Canberra where construction of his new embassy has been blocked.

The government introduced new legislation on June 15 to end Russia’s lease on the land, which is about 400 meters (437 yards) from the parliament building, after intelligence officials warned the location posed a risk to national security.

Russia, which closed the lease in 2008 but had not completed any buildings there, then made a last-ditch effort to stop the eviction, and a man was seen crouching on the property.

On Monday, Supreme Court Justice Jayne Jagot described Russia’s challenge on constitutional grounds to the law terminating the lease as “weak” and “difficult to understand”.

The squatter, who according to Russian lawyer Elliot Hyde was a security guard, was seen shortly after leaving the fenced area and then driven away in a vehicle with diplomatic plates.

“The court has made it clear that there is currently no legal basis for a Russian presence on the site,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told reporters.

“We expect the Russian Federation to act in accordance with the court’s ruling.”

Russia bought the country from the Australian government in 2008 and received permission in 2011 to build a new embassy there.

The Russian embassy did not immediately comment on the decision.

Russia previously accused Australia of “Russophobic hysteria” for canceling the lease. The current Russian embassy is the former Soviet embassy in Griffith, a suburb of Canberra, and its activities remain unaffected.

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