Russian Ambassador Alexey Pavlovsky has sensationally stated that Australia views Moscow as an enemy in a fiery interview in which he vehemently denied that the invasion of Ukraine was a war.
Russia has been shunned by the international community and expelled from the G7 for its war against Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Penny will come face to face with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Bali on Thursday at a meeting of G20 ministers.
Hamish Macdonald of the ABC took the ambassador to account for the chaos and destruction caused by the war.
“How are you going to justify that at this summit?” he asked Dr. Pavlovsky.
However, Vladimir Putin’s husband in Canberra did not respond, instead trying to tackle the problems within the global economy.
But he rejected claims that Russia was responsible for severe wheat shortages and soaring gas and fuel prices.
“I would say that the current global economic problems are rather caused by the West’s hysterical response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine,” replied Dr. Pavlovsky.
Macdonald hit back: “That’s just plainly not true. The current economic problems are partly caused by your invasion of Ukraine.”
The ambassador claimed that Macdonald had an “emotional” opinion on the matter to which the host replied that he was only reporting the facts.
“You deny that you tried to cut off access to and from Ukraine,” the ABC presenter said.
“I’m sorry, sir, but these are not Russian state media. You can’t just get away with it.”
dr. Pavlovsky laughed off the comment and continued: “If you’ve invited me, you’re clearly interested in my point of view. They’re not Russian state media, but don’t invite me if you’re not interested.”
dr. Pavlovsky, who did not label the invasion a war, said people could “call it whatever you want” but insisted it was a “military operation”.
“Our position: It is a military operation to protect the people of Donbas and protect the security interests of Russia, which has been arrogantly ignored by the West,” he said.
dr. Pavlovsky accused Ukraine of targeting “cities far from the front lines” and “deliberately and discriminatingly bomb the cities that killed civilians”.
“The ABC never talks about that,” said Dr. Pavlovsky. “Your coverage of the conflict has been completely one-sided.
The ambassador claimed he had information from “several sources” that the situation on the ground was “very different”.
“What are your other sources?” Maconald questioned.
“Independent sources,” replied Dr. Pavlovsky. “They are both Russian sources and independent sources.”
Asked again to clarify “where he gets this stuff,” the ambassador pointed to France 24 news and the “many, many Western journalists” who spoke of Donbass welcoming Russian troops.
dr. Pavlovsky couldn’t say what it would take for Russia to stop the war, but noted that it was “very sad” that Australia had provided military aid to Ukraine.
“I would say Australia sees Russia as an enemy,” said Dr Pavlovsky.
“I wish I could say something positive about Russia-Australia relations, but they’ve probably hit their lowest point in decades.”
It comes after Senator Wong called on countries with close ties to Russia, such as China, to call on Moscow to end the war in Ukraine.
But dr. Pavlovsky said Lavrov would not participate in “virtue signaling”.
“He is very busy having constructive dialogue with many countries and will not pay much attention to virtue signals from certain leaders,” he said.