In an embassy lease dispute, a Russian official is squatting near the Australian parliament.
In a dispute over where Russia wants to build its new embassy, a Russian official has been squatting near Australia’s parliament.
The one protest came after Australia decided last week to rip up the lease, which was signed in 2008, because it was bad for national security.
Russia says it will go to the High Court to fight the move.
The prime minister of Australia says that the diplomat was not a threat because he was just “some guy standing on a bit of grass.”
Anthony Albanese said that intelligence agencies had given “very clear security advice” when he talked about new rules that would end the lease.
Experts have said that the planned mission would be only 400m (0.25 miles) from parliament, which is close enough for spies to get in.
The current Russian mission is quite far away.
Australia stops Russia from opening a new embassy in Canberra.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, said that Australia’s move was another example of “Russophobic hysteria” in the countries of the West.
It is not clear what “constitutional grounds” Russia will use to challenge the laws, but it has asked for an injunction to stop any moves to reclaim the site until the court challenge is decided.
Russia says in its case to the court that it has already spent A$8.2m (£4.3m, $5.5m) on slow-moving construction, which has cost it £4.3m and $5.5m.
A building on the site of the embassy
Local media say that federal police are watching the man who is staking out the block of land, but they can’t arrest him because he is a minister.
Mr. Albanese said that the squatter and the legal fight did not worry him.
He said, “Recently, Russia hasn’t been very good at following the law.”