The West

To Russia with love: Rudd
To Russia with love: Rudd

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd has dispatched himself on a one-man peace mission to Moscow as all-out war looms between Russia and Ukraine.

The West Australian can reveal that Mr Rudd arrived in the Russian capital on Monday with plans to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin's top advisers.

It is also believed that Mr Rudd plans to go to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev this month to attend a "conference", although senior Australian diplomatic officials are baffled, saying they are unaware of any major event scheduled in the battle-scarred city.

Mr Rudd's surprise intervention in the crisis comes amid suggestions the Queenslander has been travelling the globe almost non-stop since the election, lobbying world leaders in a bid to win a senior job at the United Nations.

Mr Rudd contacted the Australian Embassy in Moscow this week, asking that he be picked up at the airport.

He asked Australian diplomats to organise a meeting with Mr Putin's foreign affairs adviser.

This morning, Mr Rudd disputed that his visit was connected to the Ukraine events.

It is unclear what priority Mr Rudd's visit has been given by Russian officials.

Diplomats suspect the former PM is attempting to "deal himself" into the crisis as a self-appointed special envoy.

Mr Rudd's spokeswoman said his trip to Moscow was planned more than a month ago and "not connected with recent developments in Ukraine".


"As everybody knows, Mr Rudd is engaged in a Harvard Kennedy School Project on China's future role in the global order," his spokeswoman said.

"Mr Rudd is meeting with think tanks and other officials in Europe including the UK and Russia on this and broader foreign policy interests."

The West Australian revealed this year that in the three months after the Federal election, Mr Rudd was overseas for almost 60 days.

During that period he travelled to Beijing four times and flew to London, New York, Paris, Boston, Washington and Bahrain.

One of Mr Rudd's most high-profile trips was in October last year when he met French President Francois Hollande and his Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius in Paris. The meeting was organised by local Australian diplomats at Mr Rudd's request.

Australian missions overseas are obliged to facilitate visits by former prime ministers.

Long-standing guidelines say car transport should be provided only when the former PM is travelling on official business and should not be for commercial purposes.

Australian diplomats are normally required to meet the former PM at the airport and help with transfers and ground transport.

Though Australian officials help organise the meetings for Mr Rudd, they are usually excluded from the talks.

Australian foreign affairs experts believe Mr Rudd has his heart set on the UN's top job - secretary-general.

But any designs Mr Rudd might have on a job at a humanitarian body such as the UNHCR are likely to be thwarted by his role in expanding detention centres on Manus Island - a move that brought condemnation from the international community.

The West Australian

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