Russia's Australia envoy slams 'comic book' Ukraine coverage

Ukrainian soldiers in the front line of city of Marinka, Ukraine on Jan 27, 2022. PHOTO: NYTIMES

CANBERRA (BLOOMBERG) - The Russian ambassador to Australia has criticised Western media coverage of the Ukraine crisis, calling it "comic book style propaganda like Batman versus Joker."

Mr Aleksey Pavlovsky also dismissed concerns over the buildup of more than 100,000 Russian troops on Ukraine's border, echoing Moscow's line that it wasn't a "threat." Russia has said it doesn't plan to invade Ukraine.

"They are a warning, to the Ukraine, not to try any reckless military adventures, not to interpret the support they have from the West as carte blanche to do such crazy things," Mr Pavlovsky said in a press conference in Canberra on Friday (Jan 28) that lasted for more than 50 minutes.

Mr Pavlovsky indirectly addressed comments made by Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton earlier in the week that Russian President Vladimir Putin was an aging dictator.

"If this is the level of analysis informing Australian policy, then it is definitely a worrying sign," he said.

The US and the European Union have warned of swift and severe sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine, although they have said they wouldn't send troops into the country if that happened.

The allies have yet to agree on a potential package of economic reprisals amid differences over what to include.

Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a radio interview Tuesday that Canberra "strongly" supported Ukraine's sovereignty.

While Ms Payne ruled out military support for the Ukrainian government, she said Australia has been offering help to the country to defend itself against a wave of cyberattacks.

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