Prime Minister Tony Abbott says it is too early to say whether Russian president Vladimir Putin should be barred from this year’s G20 summit in Brisbane.
Mr Abbott has announced the Government is pursuing tougher sanctions against Russia over its support for the rebels in eastern Ukraine.
The Prime Minister has been highly critical of the country’s response to the crisis in Ukraine and the Malaysia Airlines plane attack, which killed 38 Australian citizens and residents.
However, he says the G20 summit is still three months away and he is hoping cooler heads will prevail.
“My hope is that, even at this late stage, Russia will wake up to itself,” he said.
“[I hope] it will realise that what’s being done in the eastern Ukraine is destabilising a country which should be free to determine its own place in the world – that Russian-backed separatists are wreaking havoc in eastern Ukraine.”
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman last month called on the Government to ban Mr Putin from the meeting if he does not support efforts to resolve fighting in Ukraine and investigate the cause of the MH17 disaster.
Russia last week banned food imports from Australia, the United States and the European Union in response to sanctions imposed on Moscow earlier this year.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop last week threatened banning the sale of uranium to Russia if troops crossed into Ukraine.