Vladimir Putin has cut short his appearance at the G20 summit after pressure from world leaders over the crisis in Ukraine.The Russian president boarded a plane in the host city after holding a news conference at Brisbane’s Hilton hotel.
During the news conference Mr Putin praised the “constructive atmosphere” of the summit, despite his decision to leave early.
He said: “Some of our views do not coincide, but the discussions were complete, constructive and very helpful.”
Mr Putin also thanked Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott for hosting the event.
His departure came after world leaders criticised Mr Putin for Russia’s role in the conflict in Ukraine.
Prime Minister David Cameron confronted Mr Putin on the fringes of summit over Moscow’s interference in the country.
He warned Mr Putin that Moscow needs to implement a peace deal designed to de-escalate Ukraine’s crisis or future relations with the West are threatened.
Downing Street described the 50-minute exchange as “robust”.
Moscow is accused of having its own troops and tanks in Ukraine and failing to live up to the terms of the Minsk deal signed by the Ukrainians, Russians and pro-Moscow separatists in September.
The summit has been dominated by tensions over Moscow’s actions, with world leaders consistently voicing their opposition to the destabilisation of Ukraine.
US President Barack Obama said Moscow’s “aggression against Ukraine” was “a threat to the world”.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper also had a blunt message for Mr Putin, saying: “I’ll shake your hand, but I only have one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine.”
Ahead of the summit, Mr Putin stoked tension in Brisbane by deploying four Russian warships to the Coral Sea off Australia’s eastern coast.
Mr Abbott described the action as part of a “regrettable pattern” of Russian military assertiveness, apparently designed to evoke the “lost glories” of the Soviet Union.