Western Powers, Russia Face Off Over Ukraine At G20 Meeting

Western Powers, Russia Face Off Over Ukraine At G20 Meeting

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By Spy Uganda Correspondent

Russia’s top diplomat has stormed out of talks with G20 foreign ministers meeting in Indonesia, with Western powers criticising Moscow over its offensive against Ukraine.

Washington and allies condemned Russia’s assault as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov faced what US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called a barrage of Western criticism at the closed-door talks on Friday.

“What we’ve heard today already is a strong chorus from around the world… about the need for the aggression to end,” Blinken said from the meeting on the resort island of Bali.

Blinken and Lavrov had joined colleagues for day-long talks in their first meeting since the outbreak of conflict, with host Indonesia immediately telling them the crisis must end through negotiations.

But Lavrov walked out of a morning session as German counterpart Annalena Baerbock criticised Moscow over its actions, diplomats said.

He also left an afternoon session before Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba addressed the ministers virtually and was not present as Blinken condemned Russia.

Sparks Fly Thick And Fast

“Russia was so isolated that Lavrov left the conference at midday after speaking,” French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said. “There was not a state to defend the Russian attitude, to subscribe to the Russian logic.”

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Lavrov “wasn’t listening to others” in the meeting. “That’s not the most constructive way to attend a G20 meeting,” he said.

Western diplomats said Lavrov heard no unambiguous support during the session, even from nations that do not staunchly back the US and European position on Ukraine.

Speaking to reporters, Lavrov remained defiant and accused Western nations of avoiding “talking about global economic issues”. “From the moment they speak, they launch into fevered criticism of Russia,” he said.

“The G-7’s plan to boycott Russia at the G-20 has failed,” Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on messaging app Telegram later in the day.

Blinken accused Russia of triggering a global food crisis, demanding Moscow allow grain shipments out of Ukraine and lift its blockade on Ukrainian ports.

The gathering was soon overshadowed by the killing of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a campaign event.

In closing remarks, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said “participants expressed deep concern about the humanitarian impacts of the war” in Ukraine, and “some members expressed condemnation” of Moscow’s actions.

A US official indicated Washington did not want to embarrass Indonesia at the meeting by walking out on Lavrov, who last met Blinken in July. But there was no family photo of the G20 ministers as is customary.

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