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Russia, Australia relations at lowest in a long time: envoy

Russian ambassador Alexey Pavlovsky has sensationally declared that Australia considers Moscow an enemy in a fiery interview where he vehemently denied the invasion of Ukraine was a war.

Russia has been shunned by the international community and kicked out of the G7 because of its war on Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Penny will come face-to-face with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Bali on Thursday during a meeting of G20 ministers.

Camera IconAlexey Pavlovsky had a tense interview with the ABC on Thursday. NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

The ABC’s Hamish Macdonald took the ambassador to task over 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 man in Canberra did not respond, instead attempting to pivot towards addressing issues within the global economy.

But he rejected claims that Russia was responsible for the severe shortages of wheat and soaring gas and fuel prices.

“I would say the current global economic problems are rather caused by the West’s hysteric reaction to Russia’s actions in Ukraine,” Dr Pavlovsky replied.

Macdonald hit back: “That’s just blatantly not true. The current economic problems in part are caused by your invasion of Ukraine.”

The ambassador claimed that Macdonald was taking an “emotional” view on the issue to which the host responded he was just reporting the facts.

Camera IconHe traded barbs with host Hamish Macdonald. NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

“You’re denying that you’ve tried to cut off access into and out of Ukraine,” the ABC host responded.

“I‘m sorry, sir, but this is not Russian state media. You can’t get away with just making it up.”

Dr Pavlovsky laughed off the comment and pressed on: “If you invited me on, you obviously are interested in my point of view. It is not Russian state media, but then don’t invite me if you are not interested.”

Avoiding labelling the invasion a war, Dr Pavlovsky said people could “call it as you wish” but insisted it was a “military operation”.

“Our point of view – it is a military operation to protect people in Donbas and to 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 frontline” and “deliberately and discriminately bombing the cities killing civilians”.

“The ABC never talks about that,” Dr Pavlovsky said. “Your coverage of the conflict has been entirely one-sided.

Camera IconHe claimed the Australian media had been biased in its reporting of the war in Ukraine. NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

The ambassador claimed he had information from “different sources” that the situation on the ground was “very different”.

“What are your other sources?” Maconald quizzed.

“Independent sources,” Dr Pavlovsky replied. “It is both Russian sources and independent sources.”

Asked again to clarify “where he gets this stuff from,” the ambassador pointed to France 24 news and the “many, many Western journalists” talking about Donbass welcoming Russian forces.

Dr Pavlovsky was unable to say what it would take for Russia to stop the war but remarked it was “very sad” that Australia had provided military aid to Ukraine.

“I would say that Australia does view Russia as an enemy,” Dr Pavlovsky said.

Camera IconIt comes as Penny is set to meet face-to-face with her Russian counterpart on Thursday. NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage Credit: News Corp Australia

“I wish I could say something positive about Russia and Australia relations, but they have reached probably the lowest point in decades.”

It comes after Senator Wong called for countries with close ties to Russia – such as China – to call on Moscow to end the war in Ukraine.

But Dr Pavlovsky said Mr Lavrov would not engage in “virtue signalling”.

“He is very busy with constructive dialogue with many countries and will not pay much attention to virtue signalling from certain leaders,” he said.

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