Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia would not send troops to Ukraine if Russia invaded, but would provide practical support to its allies.
US President Joe Biden believes that Russia’s Vladimir Putin has decided to invade Ukraine and will invade it within weeks or days.
Morrison said the invasion was “unfortunately inevitable” and there was information that Russian troops had not withdrawn from the border.
Morrison told reporters in Darwin on Saturday that he was “sought to pretend to be an aggressor.”
“There is no pretense of invasion of Ukraine. There is no reason to justify it. It does not trigger it.”
Morrison said Australia would support like-minded allies and provide “necessary support.”
“Australia is not requested and does not provide support through the military or anything of that nature,” he said.
“We are working with allies and partners in many other ways and strive to do it in the practical way we can to support those efforts.
“We had such a discussion with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and others on how to proceed along the foundation,” he said.
Russia has released footage claiming to show the withdrawal of troops from the border, but the United States believes it has increased from 100,000 to 190,000 at the end of January.
Late Friday, Ukrainian military intelligence said Russian special forces had planted explosives in Donetsk’s social infrastructure facilities and urged residents to stay home.
Morrison said Russia’s threat to Ukraine was uninvited, unprovoked, and unacceptable.
“They can’t take advantage of the threat of war and aggression as a way to take advantage of other changes they may be looking for and try to negotiate,” he said.
“This is not how a free nation, a democratic nation, a nation that supports peace should behave. I have seen this before and can’t stand it.”
“(We) are always proud to stand with many people in the United States, Japan, and around the world, and friends in Europe and the United Kingdom who are ready to call for this.”
Earlier this week, Trade Minister Dan Tehan said Australia would impose strong economic sanctions if Australia invaded Russia.
Last weekend, the federal government temporarily suspended operations at the Australian Embassy in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, and evacuated diplomatic staff.