Ardern to meet with Five Eyes allies amid Russia tension

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 05:  New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attends a press conference at Kirribilli House on November 5, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. The new New Zealand Prime Minister is on a one-day visit to Australia.  (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty

Jacinda Ardern is set to meet four of the Five Eyes intelligence allies over escalating tension with Russia, it is reported.

The Prime Minister will be joined by Britain's Theresa May, Australia's Malcolm Turnbull and Canada's Justin Trudeau at the Commonwealth Summit in London on Wednesday. The United States is the only formal intelligence ally who will not be present, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Both Britain and the US have suffered cyber attacks in recent days and GCSB director-general Andrew Hampton said New Zealand organisations had been directly threatened, which Russia has denied.

Mr Hampton said the GCSB supports its partners in "calling out this sort of reckless and malicious cyber activity".

He says NotPetya, a cyber-attacker pinned on the Russian Government, "masqueraded as a criminal ransomware campaign" while "it's real purpose was to damage and disrupt systems".

The White House alleges the attacks were "part of the Kremlin's ongoing effort to destabilise Ukraine," adding it "demonstrates ever more clearly Russia's involvement in the ongoing conflict".

The Five Eyes talks are expected to consider the threat of further damage from Russia, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Ms Ardern met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday night (NZT), afterwards saying New Zealand has "called Russia to account" over its stance on the Syrian conflict.

"New Zealand from the very outset has called on Russia as a country with influence in this area to hold to account the regime around the use of chemical weapons," she says.

"We have called Russia into account, as have others, around the role that they play as a supporter of the Assad regime and we will continue to do so.

"The remains adamant the EU supports her stance on military airstrikes in Syria, despite her decision not to fully back military action or expel Russian diplomats.

"Our view is that we need to be able to maintain dialogue as an international community to ultimately resolve these issues."

The five eyes formed at the beginning of the Cold War, and share a broad range of intelligence. Two of the members, the UK and the US, launched missile attacks at Syria last week along with France.


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