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Foreign minister lauds Australia's role in Russia flak

Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS

Australia played an active role in overcoming Russia's attempt to undermine global leaders' condemnation of the Ukraine invasion, parliament has heard.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Foreign Minister Penny Wong have returned from a series of summits, including ASEAN, the East Asia Summit and the G20.

Senator Wong said Australia supported a strong statement by East Asia Summit chair Indonesia that demanded Russia's complete an unconditional withdrawal from Ukraine.

"Last year, Russia prevented agreement on a leaders' statement and once again, this year, they sought to undermine these efforts," she told parliament on Monday.

"We played an active role in overcoming Russia's efforts in securing a negotiated East Asia Summit leaders' statement."

But Mr Albanese has come under fire at home for saying the G20 leaders' statement was the "strongest statement that has ever been made that includes Russia".

Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham said India deserved credit for achieving a consensus statement at the G20, which included Russia, stating all states "must refrain from threats" and that "today's era must not be of war".

But he said it was important Mr Albanese not undermine Australia's credibility on the international stage through "unnecessary overreach" in his comments when the last G20 statement also referenced Russia.

"It's just a sign that the prime minister is clearly not paying sufficient attention to the detail in relation to these statements," he told AAP.

"There are good things about this year's statement in terms of its strength of highlighting the principles at stake, but last year's statement had ... stronger language in relation to the actual invasion."

Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley said while she was pleased it mentioned the war in Ukraine, she was "unsettled" by Mr Albanese's remarks.

"It stopped short of blaming the Russian Federation for the war, but our position remains clear - the invasion by Russia of Ukraine is illegal and immoral," she told ABC Radio. 

Though there had been concern a joint statement might be out of reach because of Russia's unwillingness to condemn its military action, the final declaration did not point the finger at one nation.

It instead asserted "there were different views and assessments of the situation".

Mr Albanese has defended the declaration.

"Given that Russia has been a part of this agreement, I think it's an extraordinarily strong statement," he said on Sunday.

"Russia has to have gotten the message, that this is having a devastating impact and that the world wants this war to stop."

Liberal senator James Paterson said any condemnation of Russia's "illegal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is always welcome" and called the consensus "heartening".

"There are some members of the G20 who, frankly, are quite supportive of Russia's invasion of Ukraine," he told reporters on Monday.

"So to get any criticism at all out of the G20, given China's participation, is actually quite an achievement."

The leaders' declaration also called on Russia and Ukraine to ensure grain and goods deliveries were unimpeded and emphasised the need to accelerate efforts to phase down the use of coal.