'Step too far': Australian PM Morrison expresses concerns over Putin's plans to attend G20

Morrison describes Russia's war on Ukraine 'violent and aggressive act that shatters international rule of law'.

'Step too far': Australian PM Morrison expresses concerns over Putin's plans to attend G20

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday expressed concerns over Russian President Vladimir Putin's plans to attend the next G20 summit in Indonesia later this year.

"The idea of sitting around the table with Vladimir Putin, who the United States are already in the position of calling out war crimes in Ukraine, for me is a step too far," Morrison told a news briefing in Clayton, Victoria.

Russia's Ambassador in Jakarta Lyudmila Vorobieva on Wednesday said Putin intends to attend the meeting scheduled for October.

The Australian premier described Russia's war on Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24, as a "violent and aggressive act that shatters the international rule of law."

Morrison said Australia has “very strong concerns” about the involvement of Russia in the G20,” but wants the Indonesian G20 to be a “great success.”

“We want to focus particularly on the challenges of our region … I would be disappointed if ... the real purposes of it were not able to be achieved. So I think we need to have people in the room that aren't invading other countries,” he added.

Commenting on the US claim that Russia is committing war crimes in Ukraine, Morrison said: "I think that they've gone through the evidence and made those claims and Australia would share their assessment based on what we have seen."

The West has imposed severe penalties on Russia over its military campaign, and is said to be discussing ways to exclude Moscow from the economic forum. But China, which has not condemned the war, says Russia cannot be expelled from the G20.

“The G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation. It brings together major economies in the world, including Russia, which is an important member of the group. No member has the right to strip another country of its membership,” its Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a regular press briefing on Wednesday.