A Russian consulate in Australia may soon have a pro-Ukrainian address in what a local council is calling a ‘symbolic protest’.
The Woollahra Municipal Council, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, passed a motion on Monday to rename the street where the Russian consulate is located.
After two hours of debate, councillors passed the motion to rename Fullerton Street to Ukraine Street.
The Woollahra Municipal Council in Sydney’s eastern suburbs has passed a motion to rename the street that the Russian Consulate of Australia (pictured) is located on. If approved Fullerton Street will be changed to Ukraine Street
Councillors, residents and Australia’s Ukrainian Embassy have thrown their support behind the name change.
Councillor Luisa Elsing introduced the motion as a small protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to ABC news.
‘I know the people who live in Woollahra and the people who live around the consulate are very keen to make their position clear,’ Ms Elsing told the council.
‘People saying how devastated they are [about the war in Ukraine] and how they want us at Woollahra Council to throw whatever support we have available to us.’
Councillor Matthew Robertson seconded the motion and said: ‘We have to do everything in our power, it’s as simple as that.’
The motion has received over 300 letters of support and more than 1,000 have signed the online petition.
Countries around the world have renamed the streets on which Russian diplomatic buildings are found. In Lithuania, the road leading to the Russian embassy in the country’s capital was renamed to ‘Ukrainian Heroes Street’ on May 9 (pictured, worker changing the street signs)
A mock ‘President Zelensky Way’ sign was erected at the entrance to the Russian Embassy on March 8 in Washington (pictured)
Andrew Mencinsky, Vice President of the Ukrainian Council of NSW, said the renaming would act as a ‘daily reminder of Ukraine’s sovereignty’.
‘Look, it’s not going to stop the war but it gives hope to the people of Ukraine because they know they’re not alone, people are supporting them,’ Mr Mencinsky said.
Approval will have to be given by the Geographical Names Board before the street is officially renamed.
The Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Sydney told Daily Mail Australia that it has no intention to influence the rename decision but is concerned council is following a ‘political trend’.
‘The Woollahra Council has not informed us of any decision yet, however, it would make sense for the Council to consult the local community first,’ the Consulate General said.
‘The Russian Consulate General is a diplomatic mission cannot and has no intention to influence its decision.
‘One wonders how comfortable the residents will be to find the historic name of the street they live on suddenly changed for no other reason than to follow the political trend of the day.’
A Ukrainian supporter (pictured, right) confronted Russian supporters in response to the war in Ukraine outside the Russian Consulate in Sydney
If passed, Sydney will join a slew of countries worldwide renaming the streets that Russian diplomatic buildings reside on.
In Latvia, the road leading directly to the Russian embassy was officially renamed to ‘Independent Ukraine Street’, while in Lithuania’s capital of Vilnius the Russian embassy, as of Wednesday, is found on ‘Independent Ukraine Street’.
A mock road sign honouring the Ukrainian President was erected outside the Russian embassy in Washington D.C. Wisconsin Avenue was transformed to ‘President Zelensky Way’ on Sunday.
Other countries have faced calls to rename the streets outside Russian embassies.
Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Alex Cole-Hamilton is calling on Scotland to rename Melville Street in Edinburgh to ‘Zelensky Street.’
Meanwhile, in London’s Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, campaigners want the street where the Russian Embassy is located to be called ‘Zelensky Avenue’ to showcase Britain’s support of Ukraine and its people.
Sydney’s Russian consulate has been the site of pro and anti-Russian rallies over the past two weeks with both groups bearing the flags and insignia of their homeland.
Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Fighting is now concentrated in the east of the country.
Pro-Russian protesters have been seen outside the consulate in support of ‘peacekeeping operations’ in Ukraine