FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a concert marking the eighth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia March 18, 2022. RIA Novosti Host Photo Agency/Alexander Vilf via REUTERS/File Photo
March 23, 2022
By Angie Teo and Stanley Widianto
JAKARTA (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to attend a G20 summit in Indonesia later this year, Russia’s ambassador to Indonesia said on Wednesday, dismissing suggestions by some G20 members that Russia could be barred from the group.
The United States and its Western allies are assessing whether Russia should remain within the Group of Twenty major economies following its invasion of Ukraine, sources involved in the discussions told Reuters.
But any bid to exclude Russia would likely be vetoed by others in the group, raising the prospect of some countries instead skipping G20 meetings, the sources said.
Russia’s ambassador to Indonesia, which currently holds the rotating G20 chair, said Putin intended to travel to the Indonesian resort island of Bali for the G20 summit in November.
“It will depend on many, many things, including the COVID situation, that is getting better. So far, his intention is … he wants to,” ambassador Lyudmila Vorobieva told a news conference.
Asked about suggestions Russia could be excluded from the G20, she said it was a forum to discuss economic issues and not a crisis like Ukraine.
“Of course expulsion of Russia from this kind of forum will not help these economic problems to be resolved. On the contrary, without Russia it would be difficult to do so.”
Indonesia’s foreign ministry declined to comment on calls for Russia to be excluded from the G20.
Russia launched its invasion of its southern neighbour on Feb. 24.
Putin says Russia is carrying out “a special military operation” to stop the Ukrainian government from committing genocide – an accusation the West calls a baseless fabrication.
Vorobieva urged Indonesia not to be swayed by pressure from Western countries.
“We really hope that the Indonesian government will not give in to the horrible pressure that’s being applied not only to Indonesia but so many other countries in the world by the West,” said Vorobieva, who said Russia was actively taking part in all G20 meetings.
‘BUSY WITH SOMETHING ELSE’
Russia is facing an onslaught of international sanctions led by Western countries aiming at isolating it from the global economy, including shutting it out of the SWIFT global bank messaging system and restricting dealings by its central bank.
On Tuesday, Poland said it had suggested to U.S. commerce officials that it replace Russia within the G20 group and that the suggestion had received a “positive response”.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said G20 members would have to decide but the issue was not a priority now.
“When it comes to the question of how to proceed with the WTO and the G20, it is imperative to discuss this question with the countries that are involved and not to decide individually,” Scholz said.
“It is quite clear that we are busy with something else than coming together in such meetings. We urgently need a ceasefire.”
U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan, asked if President Joe Biden would move to push Russia out of the G20 when he meets allies in Brussels this week, told reporters at the White House: “We believe that it cannot be business as usual for Russia in international institutions and in the international community.”
However, the United States plans to consult allies before any other pronouncements, he said.
A European Union source separately confirmed the discussions about Russia’s status at G20 meetings.
“It has been made very clear to Indonesia that Russia’s presence at forthcoming ministerial meetings would be highly problematic for European countries,” said the source, adding there was, however, no clear process for excluding a country.
Indonesia’s deputy central bank governor, Dody Budi Waluyo, said on Monday Indonesia’s position was one of neutrality and it would use its G20 leadership to try to resolve problems but Russia had a “strong commitment” to attend and other members could not forbid it from doing so.
(Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal and Alex Alper in Washington, Marek Strzeleck in Warsaw, Jan Strupczewski in Brussels, Emma Farge in Geneva, Gayatri Suroyo in Jakarta, Andreas Rinke in Berlin; Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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