Russian President Vladimir Putin has challenged Tony Abbott to “try and stop these boats” as he sends a naval task-force towards Queensland.
In an apparent attempt to shipfront Tony Abbott, Mr Putin has sent four warships to sit off the coast of Brisbane for the duration of the upcoming G20.
Immigration and Border Protection minister Scott Morrison said if the ships entered Australian waters there would be an attempt to tow them back out to sea.
“That has been our policy all along. We will tow back the Russians where it is safe to do so,” Mr Morrison said, before adding quietly that it would probably never be safe to do so.
Russia has also raised the possibility that it might tow its own boats out of Australian waters in a show of goodwill; one of the four ships is a enormous ocean-going tug.