Good morning, everyone, it’s Matilda Boseley here with you. There is plenty to get through so let’s start in Prague where foreign affairs minister Marise Payne has spoken out against Russia overnight.
She told Czech reporters that it was an “obscene perversion” for President Vladimir Putin to speak of Russian soldiers acting as “peacekeepers” in Ukraine:
Any suggestions that there is a legitimate basis for Russia’s actions are pure propaganda and disinformation …
The assertion by President Putin of Russian soldiers acting as peacekeepers is indeed an obscene perversion of the noble and vital role that generations of peacekeepers have played across the world.
Payne added that Australia would not hesitate to impose more sanctions if Russia escalated tensions.
This comes after Russia recognised the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent territories. Overnight Ukraine declared a state of emergency and told its citizens in Russia to leave while Russia began evacuating its embassy in the capital of Kyiv in the latest signs that a full-scale Russian invasion could be imminent.
Heading back to Australian shores, from today six- to 11-year-olds are eligible for the Moderna vaccine after experts signed off on the expansion of the immunisation program.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation has recommended the vaccine after approval last week by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Jabs will be available to children from Thursday, with the approval broadening the previous recommendation which was for children aged 12 and up. Each vaccine will be half the adult dose and children will need two doses spaced eight weeks…