Australia’s Defence Minister Peter Dutton has called out Chinese regime leader Xi Jinping who he said wields the power to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine but has “chosen not to do that.”
“The world stands as one to condemn the actions of President Putin—except for the Chinese government, tragically,” Dutton told Sky News Australia on Feb. 25.
“This alliance that Russia and China have entered into should be deeply disturbing to the rest of the world.”
Xi’s silence has made him stand out from world leaders who have publicly condemned Putin’s actions, Dutton said, despite the Chinese communist regime leader having the “power and the relationship” to exert pressure on Putin to “pull back and to reconsider” his military operations in Ukraine.
“The world should observe that very closely,” Dutton said in similar comments to Nine’s Today program.
“This alliance between China and Russia really should be an alarm bell for the world. We need to stand united and the west needs to be as strong as we have been since at least the Cold War,” he said.
Both Dutton and Assistant Defence Minister Andrew Hastie said there would many “innocent victims” of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Assistant Defence Minister Andrew Hastie addresses media as Defence Minister Peter Dutton looks on in front of the Subiaco War Memorial in Perth, Australia, on April 19, 2021. (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright)
“Vladimir Putin is blowing the filthy clouds of war across Europe,” Hastie told Sky News Australia on Feb. 24.
“Innocent people will die at his foul hands and we condemn in the strongest possible terms today.”
Hastie said Prime Minister Scott Morrison had issued a warning against the rise of authoritarian powers back in 2020, in his Defence Strategic Update, “and we’re seeing that come to bear today.”
“It’s a very dark day indeed,” he said.
Australia will not send troops to Ukraine and should its regime of sanctions fail to change Russia’s course, Hastie said Australia was “just getting warmed up” and could deploy offensive cyber capabilities.
“But most importantly, we condemn this corrupt and evil invasion of the Ukraine. And we affirm Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he added.
Meanwhile, in interviews Dutton said what was happening in Ukraine was a “human tragedy” and posed the question: “The question is what more can the world do?”
“There can be forces sent in and then you would be saying, ‘why have we entered into a nuclear war?'” he said.
He warned there would be “economic consequences for the rest of the world.”