Positive signs from China, India: envoy

·3-min read

Economic pressure is starting to bite and may be behind recent comments by India and China about Russia's war in Ukraine, the country's envoy to Australia says.

Ambassador Vasyl Myroshnychenko says recent comments out of New Delhi and Beijing show the impact of maintaining neutrality alongside a flailing Russia is being outweighed by the cost.

Both nations have resisted joining Western sanctions against Russia and have failed to explicitly condemn its invasion.

China and Russia have entered a strategic partnership and ramped up military drills in the Pacific while India has traditionally relied heavily on the Kremlin for military hardware and equipment.

But Mr Myroshnychenko says high commodity prices and continuing shockwaves destabilising global markets could be enough to turn the tide in Central Asia.

"They get a discount on the Russian products, but they have to pay a higher price for all other products, plus the sanctions that have been imposed," he told AAP.

"So it's not really in the interest of China or India to see this war going on."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi used a televised address to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation - formed by Russia and China as a counterweight to US influence - to admonish Russia, saying "today's era is not of war".

Russian President Vladimir Putin also acknowledged that his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had raised concerns about the war with him.

China expressed support for Russia's "core interests" but also interest in working together to "inject stability" into world affairs.

Australia's chair of parliament's intelligence and security committee Peter Khalil also noted the turning of the tides towards India's, and to a lesser extent China's, rhetoric on the war.

"It is significant," Mr Khalil said.

"The Chinese Communist Party has sort of tethered itself to Russia."

Mr Khalil also questioned whether China's concerns about Russia's "failings" in Ukraine were borne from the unsettling of its strategic partner rather than the Kremlin's negation of international law.

"There could be some real concerns in Beijing about the fact that the war is not going very well for their partner," he said.

Mr Myroshnychenko says pressure on the Russian president is increasing from China and India.

"We don't know what is behind the scenes, we could only read the readouts, but they give you an indication," he said.

"The fact Putin has twice mentioned concerns from India and China on the war in Ukraine actually means there is something else we're not aware of."

But there are also major concerns about potential retaliation to the Ukrainian counteroffensive that recaptured the city of Kharkiv.

"The more Putin is pushed into a corner, the more he acts like a wounded animal that lashes out," Mr Khalil said.

"The concern is that he may reach for chemical weapons or biological or even worse, tactical nuclear weapons.

"We are doing everything we can to ensure that doesn't happen."

Ukraine's ambassador says the recent gains have reinvigorated morale.

"There is a feeling that momentum is on our side," he said.

"The morale is high. So uplifting, inspirational, motivation and all those good words I'm hearing from my people in Ukraine."

The war in Ukraine is set to dominate discussions at the United Nations this week as world leaders prepare to meet in New York.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong will lead Australia's delegation to the UN General Assembly.

The 77th general assembly session will run from September 19 to 24.

with AP