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Kremlin Says Australia Blocking New Embassy 'Russophobic'

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese deliver keynote address during the opening dinner for the 20th International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia's annual defense and security forum, in Singapore, Friday, June 2, 2023. AP Photo/Vincent Thian/TASS

Russia on Thursday blasted Australia's decision to prohibit Russia from building a new embassy after intelligence officials warned it posed a security threat.

"To our regret, Australia diligently continues to follow the path created by the authors of the Russophobic hysteria, which is now active in the countries of the collective West," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

"Australia aims for excellence among these countries," he quipped, adding that Russia would consider retaliation.

Australia blocked Russia from building a new embassy in the shadow of Parliament House on Thursday after intelligence officials warned it posed a spying risk and security threat.

Russia holds the lease for a parcel of land some 400 meters (0.25 miles) from Australia's parliamentary precinct in Canberra, and has been laying the foundations for a new embassy building.

But after failing to block the development in the courts, the Australian government passed new laws on Thursday that were specifically drafted to halt its construction. 

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