Roving Rudd leaves MPs toey
Roving Rudd leaves MPs toey

The Abbott Government is worried Kevin Rudd's foray to Moscow could confuse international efforts to bring Russian President Vladimir Putin to the bargaining table over the crisis in the Ukraine.

The concerns came as the Government moved to pare back services at Australian embassies for former prime ministers to stop foreign missions being swamped with demands from travelling politicians.

_The West Australian _ revealed yesterday Mr Rudd had dispatched himself on a one-man mission to Moscow as war between Ukraine and Russia looms.

Senior Foreign Affairs officials suspect Mr Rudd is attempting to "deal himself in" to the crisis as part of a possible campaign to win a senior United Nations job.

But coalition MPs expressed concerns Mr Rudd's intervention could undermine Australia's strategy to isolate Moscow.

It is understood Mr Rudd planned to meet Mr Putin's top foreign policy advisers. The former PM says his trip to Russia was organised more than a month ago and was not connected with developments in Ukraine.

"He has also kept the Government informed of his travel," a spokeswoman said. "Mr Rudd is not travelling to the Ukraine as part of his visit at all."

Former prime ministers are able to call on Australian embassies to have diplomats pick them up from airports and arrange transfers and meetings with local officials. The Australian Embassy in Washington was recently stretched when former prime ministers John Howard, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard arrived in the US capital at the same time.

But Australian ambassadors and heads of missions have now been given new instructions "empowering" them to make a call on whether they can refuse a former PM assistance depending on their workload.

Mr Rudd has been travelling almost constantly since losing the Federal election and has been making regular demands on Australian embassies.

Asked about suggestions Mr Rudd might have been planning to travel to Ukraine, a spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop pointed out Australia had recently issued travel advice, warning citizens against visiting the country.

The West Australian

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