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Australia’s High Court dismisses Russia’s bid for injunction to stop its embassy’s eviction

A fence surrounds a seemingly unoccupied building on the grounds of a proposed new Russian embassy near the Australian Parliament in Canberra, Feb. 28, 2023. A suspected lone Russian diplomat was on Friday, June 23, 2023, apparently squatting on the site of the proposed embassy that the Australian government has vetoed. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese dismissed the Russian act of defiance saying a "bloke standing in the cold on a bit of grass in Canberra is not a threat to our national security." (AP Photo/Rod McGuirk)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s highest court on Monday dismissed Russia’s application for an injunction that would have prevented Moscow’s embassy being evicted from a site in the national capital Canberra.

In dismissing the application, High Court Justice Jayne Jagot described Russia’s challenge on constitutional grounds to a law terminating the lease as “weak” and “difficult to understand.”

Parliament passed emergency legislation on June 15 that terminated Russia’s lease on the largely empty block on security grounds because the new embassy would have been too close to Parliament House.

Russia’s lawyer Elliot Hyde had argued that the Ambassador Alexey Pavlovsky would not have confidence in the integrity and security of a consular building already on the site if the embassy was not allowed to maintain possession until the challenge to the validity of the lease termination was decided.

Elliot said a man who has been living on the site in a portable cabin at least since last week was a security guard. The man had been described in the media as a Russian diplomat.