Russia's ambassador in Australia says the country's decision to withdraw diplomatic staff from its embassy in Ukraine "would be funny if it wasn't so sad".
Aleksey Pavlovsky has talked down fears of an invasion of Ukraine, saying there is no intention to go to war as 100,000 troops amass on the border.
"We should use our critical thinking. Isn't it a funny way to prepare an invasion by just gathering troops on the border and let them sit there for months," he told the ABC.
"When you prepare an invasion you just do it promptly. These troops are not a threat, they are a warning to Ukraine's rulers not to attempt any reckless military adventures."
Mr Pavlovsky said large-scale military exercises are conducted regularly because Russia has to maintain its preparedness.
The Russian ambassador also criticised Australia's decision to issue a Do Not Travel declaration for Ukraine and for its call for citizens in the country to leave.
"(The) decision was a strange one. You can't help wondering why when all but four diplomatic missions in Kyiv keep working normally," he said.
Mr Pavlovsky also talked down the impact of sanctions, which have been threatened by western nations including Australia, saying they don't work.
"The position of Australia on this is regrettable," he said.
"I fully understand some countries situated thousands of miles away might find it difficult to appreciate our concerns. But for Russia it is not a situation which is thousands of miles away."
Tensions in Ukraine have been increasing for months, with the West accusing the Kremlin of preparing for war to prevent Ukraine joining NATO.
There are concerns Russia is conducting a cyber offensive, having been blamed earlier this month for defacing Ukrainian government websites and infecting computers with destructive malware .
In 2017, Russia targeted Ukraine with one of the most damaging cyber attacks on record with the NotPetya virus, causing more than $14 billion in damage.
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said Russia posed a risk in terms of cyber security.
"What we have become aware of - as has the rest of the world - is that in recent times there's been some activity in the Ukraine, potentially by Russia," she told 4BC radio.
She said Australia's cyber security ambassador would be providing support as part of Australia's diplomatic efforts regarding the Ukraine.
"We will be doing all that we can to look at what the source of these attacks are, how they can be remedied, how we can use that information to support potentially the Ukraine."
Foreign Minister Marise Payne has reiterated support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, calling for Russia to de-escalate the situation along the eastern European border.
But former US representative to NATO and US special representative for Ukraine negotiations Kurt Volker said Russia's presence at crisis talks in France was simply it "going through the motions of engaging in diplomatic activity", with a possible invasion still imminent.
"They've had the meetings at NATO, they've had the meetings with Secretary of State Blinken, they'll do this as well," he told the ABC.
"I think they need another week or two before everything is in place for the possibility of an invasion."
Australian Associated Press
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