Mark McGowan has voiced his “despair” over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threat to nuke any country that intervenes in his invasion of the Ukraine.
But the Premier stopped short of condemning China over its reported easing of trade restrictions with Russia.
Speaking at Friday’s press conference, Mr McGowan said it was shocking to see nuclear powerhouse Russia threatening more lives, after it invaded the Eastern European country.
“The threats that Mr Putin put out there yesterday, the threats of basically nuking any country that intervenes, was just so uncivilised … and I’m just (in) despair that the country with the largest nuclear arsenal in the world would be acting like this,” Mr McGowan said.
Mr McGowan said he wrongly believed Russia would not go through with its threat and ignite a war and thought the initial threats were merely Mr Putin trying to “be a big man around town”.
“Mr Putin and his behaviour is incredible, I actually didn’t think they’d do it,” he said.
“When you actually invade another country, as Saddam Hussein learnt, the consequences can be dire for that country.”
But Mr McGowan was much more careful in his choice of words around China’s decision to lift all wheat import restrictions on Russia after the country attacked Ukraine.
When asked what he thought of reports China was easing trade restrictions with Russia, Mr McGowan replied: “My main focus is Russia, I think the world should be focused on Russia and what Russia has done”.
China buys significant amounts of iron ore from Western Australia and is a significant trading partner.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Anthony Albanese both hit out at China over its decision.
Mr Morrison said it was unacceptable at a time when other countries, such as the United States, were tightening trade with Russia and imposing sanctions following the invasion.
Mr Albanese said China should have imposed sanctions, rather than eased trading conditions with Russia.
Meanwhile, Mr McGowan said he yet to consider providing refuge to the people of Ukraine, but vowed to work cooperatively with the Commonwealth on the issue.
“It’s obviously a tragedy what’s going on there, this unbridled and unprovoked aggression by Russia is like something you’d read from the 1930s or 1940s,” he said.
“It’s unbelievable what they’ve done. A European ground war — I didn’t think I’d see it in my lifetime.”