Russia-Australia relations have reached their lowest point in decades due to the government’s support for Ukraine, Russia’s ambassador said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs will soon come face to face with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov for the first time since the invasion of Ukraine in February.
Senator Wong attends a G20 foreign ministers meeting in Bali this week and talks are expected to be overshadowed by the war in Ukraine and Mr Lavrov’s presence.
The Group of 20 includes Western countries that have accused Moscow of war crimes in Ukraine and introduced sanctions, and countries like China, Indonesia, India and South Africa that have failed to follow suit.
The Australian government’s decision to impose sanctions on Russia and Russian citizens and to provide lethal and non-lethal military aid to Ukraine was “extremely sad,” Russian Ambassador to Australia Aleksey Pavlovsky said.
“I wish I could say something positive about Russian-Australian relations, but they are probably at their lowest point in decades,” he told ABC radio on Thursday.
“Whatever partnership we had, it was destroyed by the Australian side without really thinking about what Australia’s interests were.
“(It’s) just to keep up with its allies and this is really sad.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanian visited the Ukrainian capital Kiev earlier this week to show Australia’s solidarity with the war-torn country.
Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor to Ukraine’s struggle to oust the invading Russian army, providing a total of $390 million in military and humanitarian aid. It has also sanctioned 843 individuals and 62 Russian entities.
Former Russian president issues nuclear warning
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has told the United States that attempts by the West to punish a nuclear power like Russia for the war in Ukraine could endanger humanity.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to the worst crisis in relations between Russia and the West since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when many people feared the world was on the brink of nuclear war.
Medvedev called the United States an empire that had shed blood around the world, citing the killing of Native Americans, US nuclear attacks on Japan, and a myriad of wars ranging from Vietnam to Afghanistan.
Attempts to use courts or tribunals to investigate Russia’s actions in Ukraine would be futile, Mr Medvedev said, and risk global devastation.
“The idea of punishing a country with one of the greatest nuclear capabilities is absurd and potentially threatens the survival of humanity,” Medvedev, who is now deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, told Telegram.
According to the Federation of American Scientists, Russia and the United States control about 90 percent of the world’s nuclear warheads, with about 4,000 warheads each in their military stockpiles.
As president from 2008 to 2012, Mr Medvedev presented himself as a reformer who wanted better relations with the West. But since President Vladimir Putin ordered the February 24 invasion, he has reformed himself as a vociferous Kremlin hardliner.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (center).
“All American history, beginning with the conquest of the Native Americans, has been a bloody war of annihilation,” he said.
US President Joe Biden says Putin is a war criminal who launched an illegal invasion of Ukraine. The United States supplies weapons to Ukraine, which says it is fighting for its survival.
Russia says what it calls “a special military operation” aims to downgrade Ukraine’s military and exterminate people it calls dangerous nationalists. Putin says the United States used Ukraine to threaten Russia.
Medvedev said the United States has killed millions of people around the world since World War II.