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Visiting US military expert Dr Phillip Karber urges Turnbull Government to keep pressure on Russia
29 November 2016 03:18

Top US military and security adviser Dr Phillip Karber said the Abbott government had been very tough on Mr Putin after the shooting down of MH17, in which 38 Australian citizens and residents were killed in eastern Ukraine.

AUSTRALIA has been warned not to go soft on Russia as tensions mount over President Vladimir Putin’s military intentions in Eastern Europe.

Top US military and security adviser Dr Phillip Karber said the Abbott government had been very tough on Mr Putin after the shooting down of MH17, in which 38 Australian citizens and residents were killed in eastern Ukraine.

Former PM Tony Abbott had threatened he would “shirt-front” Mr Putin over the issue during a G20 summit held in Brisbane in late 2014.

Dr Karber, who is visiting Australia, said he had heard worrying rumblings about the Turnbull

Government’s more low-key stance.

“There’s a question as to whether their silence is a change of policy or they’re just waiting to make their point,” he said.

“Don’t go soft … It would contribute to instability to have Australia seen as changing its strong stance,” he said.

Dr Karber, head of strategic policy outfit the Potomac Foundation, has made 25 trips with Ukrainian Government troops to the frontline of the nation’s conflict with Russian soldiers, local separatists and mercenaries in eastern Ukraine.

Dr Karber said it was hard to predict Russia’s next moves with the election of new US president Donald Trump, but it was unlikely that Mr Putin would launch a major attack.

“My hypothesis would be that Putin is going to try to cosy up to Trump and sort of create this bad boys club,” he said.

Dr Karber, who was brought to Australia by the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations, has had high level meetings here including with Chief of Army Lieutenant General Angus Campbell.

“In my view your guys are at the cutting edge, in the top one or two units in the world that are paying attention and innovatively developing tactics and operational procedures,” he said.

“I found their taking the lessons from Ukraine and applying it to their force to be one of the most innovative efforts of an army in the West to date that I have seen.”

Dr Karber spoke to the Ukrainian community in Melbourne last week.

john.masanauskas@news.com.au

herald sun,

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