The Online Post Originating From Australia That Angered Russia, Prompting Demands For Its Removal

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The Online Post Originating From Australia That Angered Russia, Prompting Demands For Its Removal

Russian authorities have called in a senior Australian diplomat in Moscow to provide clarification regarding a social media post characterizing the country’s presidential election as a “flagrant violation of international law.”

A statement published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website disclosed that chargé d’affaires Jeremy Guthrie was “summoned” on Friday to receive a “strong protest.” A chargé d’affaires serves as the representative of an ambassador in their absence from their accredited country.

The presidential election in Russia took place from March 15 to 17, with the incumbent Vladimir Putin securing nearly 90 percent of the vote. However, many experts have raised concerns about the election’s integrity, suggesting it was manipulated.

Amidst the election period, the official Telegram account of the Australian embassy in Moscow posted a statement asserting that conducting the vote in parts of Ukraine annexed by Russia constituted a “violation of international law.” Telegram, an encrypted messaging service, is widely utilized in Russia.

Additionally, the post expressed Australia’s strong condemnation of Russia’s actions in annexing foreign territory and depriving Ukrainian citizens of their fundamental rights.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Western leaders and governments during and after Russia’s election. Since 2022, Russia has maintained control over significant portions of southern Ukraine following its invasion and has also annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

In response to the Australian embassy’s post, Russia’s foreign ministry labeled it as “deliberately false.”

“The Australian diplomat was told that the above-mentioned actions of the diplomatic mission were regarded as interference in the internal affairs of our country,” it said in a statement.

It also demanded the post be removed — something that has not happened — and that Australia’s embassy “take steps to ensure that similar incidents do not happen again”.

Subsequent posts on the Australian embassy’s Telegram account have also been critical of the election. 

One said: “Australia is deeply concerned by the deliberate exclusion of genuine opposition candidates from the electoral process, the lack of independent and impartial observers, credible reports of voter coercion and unlawful detention, and evidence of electoral fraud and manipulation.”

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