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Russian govt calls on Australian embassy to delete post

Russian authorities say they have summoned a diplomat from the Australian embassy in Moscow over a social media post that criticised the holding of Russian presidential elections in occupied parts of Ukraine.

The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that an Australian embassy post on the Telegram platform questioned "the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation" and contained "knowingly false information about the voting in a number of Russian regions during the election of the president" on March 15-17.

Australia's Chargé d'affaires was told the online post was regarded as interfering in the country's internal affairs, the Russian statement said, demanding he remove the message and take measures to ensure such incidents do not happen again.

The Australian embassy posted a Russian-language message on Telegram on March 19 saying Australia is "aware that the Russian government conducted sham elections in Ukrainian territories, which reflects its continuing efforts to undermine Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence".

The post continued: "Australia rejects the outcome of these sham elections and again calls on Russia to immediately withdraw from Ukraine's internationally recognised territory."

The Russian presidential election, which electoral authorities stated President Vladimir Putin won with more than 87 per cent of the vote, was conducted in parts of Ukraine that Russia says it has annexed including Crimea and parts of four regions it it seized after its 2022 invasion.

with Reuters