Russia warns against Australia's attempt to becoming a nuclear power under a trilateral pact Canberra signed with the United States and Britain earlier this week.
Russian Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov said on Friday that “time has not come yet for such estimations” about Australia turning into a nuclear power.
Under a new Australia-UK-US alliance (Aukus), Canberra would be building at least eight nuclear submarines, using US technology.
The first of the submarines is expected to enter service is 2036.
Ulyanov warned that the plan “is alarming and makes you keep a close eye on that.”
“Australia is a non-nuclear power,” he said, adding that “all this should be closely supervised by the IAEA and its inspection mechanism.”
Earlier this month, Australia, Britain and the US presented the trilateral deal as a defense pact, which instantly drew condemnation from China and France, as well.
The trio stood to gain from Aukus, though they are well aware that the pact will be further raising already simmering tensions with China and Russia.
The pact has also infuriated France, which lost a contract to build conventional submarines for Australia that was worth $36.5 billion at the time of signing.
French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, to termed the pact as "s stab in the back."
Many observers warned that the trilateral pact could lead to a situation very similar to the US-Russian arms race during the cold war.
China also accuses the West of “cold war mentality.