Putin to attend G-20 summit amid moves to oust Russia from group

Beijing backs Moscow but Indonesia, this year’s G-20 president, says the forum should focus on economic issues.
By Tria Dianti for BenarNews
2022.03.23
Share on WhatsApp
Share on WhatsApp
Putin to attend G-20 summit amid moves to oust Russia from group Russian President Vladimir Putin sits in front of a screen displaying Chinese President Xi Jinping as he attends a G-20 summit via a video link at his residence outside Moscow, Oct. 31, 2021.
Sputnik via Reuters

President Vladimir Putin plans to attend the G-20 summit in Bali in October, Russia’s ambassador to Indonesia said Wednesday, amid reports of attempts by Western governments to oust Moscow from the group over its invasion of Ukraine.

Beijing meanwhile backed Moscow on the matter, with a foreign ministry spokesman saying that no member of the Group of Twenty leading economies had the right to strip another of its membership.

Putin’s attendance at the G-20 summit in Bali would “depend on many things, including the COVID situation that is getting better,” Russian Ambassador Lyudmila Vorobieva said.

“So far, his intention is, he wants to come [to the G-20 summit],” she told a news conference in Jakarta, when asked about the prospect of Russia being booted from the group.

The envoy acknowledged that many international organizations “are trying to expel” Russia, including the World Trade Organization (WTO), and said the West’s reaction to its invasion of Ukraine was “disproportionate.”  

Vorobieva said the G-20 was not the right platform to discuss the conflict in Ukraine.

“The expulsion of Russia from this kind of economic forum will not help economic problems to be resolved. On the contrary, without Russia, it would be difficult to do so,” she said.

“We really hope that the Indonesian government will not give in to … pressure that is being applied not only to Indonesia but also so many countries in the world by the West,” she added. 

Ukraine earlier this month urged Indonesia, this year’s president of the G-20, to include discussions on the invasion during the upcoming summit in Bali.

But Teuku Faizasyah, spokesman for Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Indonesia’s stance was “that the G-20 forum should focus on global economic issues.”

“The G-20 was formed as a premier forum for economic issues,” he told BenarNews last week.

Vorobieva’s made her remarks a day after the top U.S. national security official indicated that Washington would lead an effort to put pressure on Russia to be excluded from international forums over its invasion of Ukraine.

“On the question of the G-20, I will just say this: We believe that it cannot be business as usual for Russia in international institutions and in the international community,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Tuesday.

“As for particular institutions and particular decisions, we’d like to consult with our allies, consult with our partners in those institutions before making any further pronouncements,” he said.

In March 2014, the United States and other powers indefinitely suspended Russia’s membership in the G-8 after Moscow annexed Crimea; In 2017, Russia permanently withdrew from the grouping.

On Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden was heading to Brussels to participate in the summits of NATO, the G-7 and the European Union where he plans “to send a powerful message that we are prepared and committed” to Ukraine “for as long as it takes,” Sullivan said.

He also said Biden would consult with NATO on China’s ties to Russia and the question of Beijing’s potential participation in the conflict in Ukraine.

“The administration is worried Beijing will provide economic or military help to Moscow,” Sullivan said.

Protesters display the flags of Russia and Ukraine during an anti-war demonstration in front of the Russian embassy in Jakarta to call on Russia to stop its invasion of Ukraine, March 4, 2022. Credit: AFP
Protesters display the flags of Russia and Ukraine during an anti-war demonstration in front of the Russian embassy in Jakarta to call on Russia to stop its invasion of Ukraine, March 4, 2022. Credit: AFP
‘True multilateralism’

China, meanwhile on Wednesday, claimed that Russia could not be kicked out of the G-20.

“The G-20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation. It brings together major economies in the world, including Russia, which is an important member of the group,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters.

“No member has the right to strip another member of its membership.  … [The G-20] should practice true multilateralism …”

For its part, Indonesia had voted for a U.N. General Assembly resolution that condemned Moscow’s military strike on Ukraine. But, at the same time, Jakarta has not directly criticized Russia or used the word “invasion.”

After Moscow launched the invasion on Feb. 24, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo posted on Twitter – without referring to Russia or Ukraine: “Stop the war. War brings misery to mankind and puts the whole world at risk.”

Hikmahanto Juwana, a professor in international law at the University of Indonesia, said Western members of the G-20 may boycott the Bali summit if Putin attends.

“[T]hey definitely don’t want to be there if Russia attends. Australia just said they won’t attend if Russia does,” Hikmahanto told BenarNews.

“The absence of other member countries will undermine Indonesia’s credibility,” he said.

According to Hikmahanto, Russia’s expressed intention to attend the summit was intended to forestall American participation.

“Now Russia is playing chess, making such a statement so that America won’t attend. This spells failure for the G-20,” he said.

Teuku Rezasyah, a lecturer in international relations at Padjadjaran University in Bandung, said Putin should be allowed to attend the summit, even it means risking a boycott.

“Everyone wants to hear what Putin has to say because right now he is the center of global attention,” he said.

BenarNews is an RFA-affiliated online news service.

POST A COMMENT

Add your comment by filling out the form below in plain text. Comments are approved by a moderator and can be edited in accordance with RFAs Terms of Use. Comments will not appear in real time. RFA is not responsible for the content of the postings. Please, be respectful of others' point of view and stick to the facts.

View Full Site