G20 host calls for end to war in Ukraine as Russia rejects criticism

  • Russian foreign minister rejects ‘rabid’ criticism of war
  • Lavrov walked out during a virtual speech by the Ukrainian minister
  • Indonesia has warned that food prices will hit low-income countries hard
  • British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss cuts short Bali trip

NUSA DUA, Indonesia, July 8 (Reuters) – G20 host Indonesia on Friday urged the group’s foreign ministers to end the war in Ukraine, as Russia’s top diplomat accused the West of squandering an opportunity to tackle global economic problems with “frenziness”. Criticism of conflict.

A meeting of G20 ministers in Bali has been overshadowed by the war and its impact on the global economy, with top officials from the West and Japan insisting it will not be a “business as usual” event.

When Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived for a meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, chants of “when will you stop the war” and “why not stop the war” were heard.

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Lavrov said ministers from the West “went astray almost immediately as soon as they took to fanatical criticism of the Russian Federation over the situation in Ukraine”.

“Aggressors”, “aggressors”, “aggressors” – today we heard a lot of things,” Lavrov told reporters after the first session of the talks, as he sat between representatives of Mexico and Saudi Arabia. Read more

Russia has launched a “special military operation” to disarm the Ukrainian military and root out what it calls dangerous nationalists.

Ukraine and its Western backers say Russia is engaged in an imperialist-style land grab. They say there is no justification for Russia’s invasion.

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Retno called on the G20 to “find a way forward” to address global challenges and said the effects of the war, including rising energy and food prices, would hit low-income countries hard.

“It is our responsibility to end the war quickly and settle our differences at the negotiating table, not on the battlefield,” Rednow said at the start of the talks.

Challenges related to rising food and energy costs have been “dramatically exacerbated by Russian aggression against Ukraine,” US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on the sidelines of the meeting.

During the plenary meeting, Blinken confronted Russia about blocking Ukrainian grain exports and stealing it, a Western official said.

“He addressed Russia directly: To our Russian colleagues: Ukraine is not your country. Its grain is not your grain. Why are you blocking the ports? You have to let the grain out,” the official said.

Lavrov was not in the room at the time, the official said.

Ukraine is struggling to export goods, with many of its ports blocked by war on its southern coast. It is the fourth largest grain exporter in the world.

Lavrov later told reporters that Russia was ready to hold talks with Ukraine and Turkey on grain, but it was unclear when such talks would take place.

‘New Cold War’

Ukraine’s foreign minister addressed the meeting, and Lavrov left the room during his speech, Ukraine’s ambassador to Indonesia said.

Underscoring tensions ahead of the meeting, Rednow said he was told by his G7 colleagues that he would not be able to attend Thursday’s welcome dinner where Lavrov was.

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A senior Indonesian foreign ministry official told Reuters no statement was expected from Friday’s meeting.

Rednow had said it was important to “create a comfortable atmosphere for everyone,” noting that it was the first time all the major players had sat in the same room since the February 24 invasion of Ukraine.

On the sidelines of the meeting, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Beijing camp opposed any actions that would encourage conflict and create a “new Cold War”.

Friday’s agenda includes a closed-door meeting and bilateral talks with top diplomats from G20 countries including China, India, the US, Brazil, Canada, Japan and South Africa.

For the first time in three years, Chinese and Australian foreign ministers will hold talks on Friday, marking a thaw in relations over claims of foreign interference and retaliatory trade sanctions. read more

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss did not attend Friday’s events, being represented by Tim Barrow, the second permanent under-secretary at the Foreign Office. Media reports suggest Truss cut short her trip to Bali following the resignation of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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Additional reporting by Ryan Wu in Beijing, Kirsty Needham in Sydney and UT Kahya Budiman in Nusa Dua; Written by Kate Lamb; Editing by Martin Petty, Ed Davies and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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