War dominates G20 meeting as Russia rebukes ‘frenzied’ Western critics

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  • Russian Foreign Minister rejects ‘frenzied’ criticism of war
  • Lavrov leaves during Ukrainian minister’s virtual speech
  • Ukraine denounces Russia’s ‘hunger games’
  • War discussed in almost every meeting – Indonesia FM

NUSA DUA, Indonesia, July 8 (Reuters) – G20 host Indonesia on Friday urged the group’s foreign ministers to help end the war in Ukraine, as Russia’s top diplomat accused the West of wasting a chance to tackle global economic problems with “frenzied” criticism. of the conflict.

The rally in Bali was dominated by the war and its impact on food and energy security, and it was discussed in almost all bilateral meetings, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in remarks after the end talks.

It was not immediately clear from Retno’s briefing if any agreements had been reached at the meeting.

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As the day’s events began, cries of “When are you going to stop the war” and “Why don’t you stop the war” were heard as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shook hands with Retno on arrival.

Lavrov said ministers from Western nations “almost immediately walked away, as soon as they spoke, from the Russian Federation’s frenzied criticism of the situation in Ukraine”.

‘Aggressors’, ‘invaders’, ‘occupiers’ – we heard a lot today,” Lavrov told reporters after the first round of talks, where he sat between representatives from Mexico and Saudi Arabia. . Read more

Russia calls the war a “special military operation” to degrade Ukraine’s military and root out people it calls dangerous nationalists.

Ukraine and its Western supporters say Russia is engaged in imperial-style land grabbing with no justification for its invasion.

DISCUSSION THAT IGNITES

Retno opened the meeting by calling on the G20 to ‘find a way forward’ to tackle global challenges and said the repercussions of the war, including rising energy and food prices, would hit hardest. low-income countries.

“It is our responsibility to end the war as soon as possible and settle our differences at the negotiating table, not on the battlefield,” Retno said at the opening of the talks.

The challenges of rising food and energy prices have been “significantly exacerbated by Russian aggression against Ukraine,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on the sidelines of the meeting.

During the plenary, Blinken confronted Russia over blocking and stealing Ukrainian grain export, a Western official said.

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

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

Lavrov and Blinken discussed things in the meeting room, Retno said, without giving further details.

Ukraine, the world’s fourth-largest grain exporter, is struggling to export goods, with many of its ports blocked as war rages along its southern coast.

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

“HUNGER GAMES”

The event hosted a closed-door meeting of top diplomats from G20 countries, including China, India, the United States, Brazil, Canada, Japan and South Africa, as well as talks bilateral on the sidelines.

The meetings were overshadowed by the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which Blinken called “deeply disturbing”, expressing shock at the death of “a leader with great vision”.

Ukraine’s foreign minister addressed the meeting virtually, accusing Russia of playing “hunger games” by blockading Ukraine’s Black Sea port.

Lavrov left the room during his speech, the Ukrainian ambassador to Indonesia said.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said earlier that Beijing opposes any act of exacerbating bloc confrontation and creating a “new cold war”.

Underscoring tensions in the run-up to the meeting, Retno said her G7 counterparts had informed her that they could not join Thursday’s welcome dinner, where Lavrov was present.

In his closing remarks, Retno said the foreign ministers’ decisions to participate had not been taken lightly given war-related tensions, and that all participants were concerned about soaring oil prices. food and energy.

Some G20 participants called for an end to the conflict through diplomacy and negotiations, Retno said, adding that it was essential to reintegrate Russian fertilizers and Ukrainian grain into the global supply chain.

The Chinese and Australian foreign ministers were due to meet on Friday for the first time in three years, signaling a thaw in relations which soured over allegations of foreign interference and retaliatory trade sanctions. Read more

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Additional reporting by Ryan Woo in Beijing, Kirsty Needham in Sydney and Yuddy Cahya Budiman in Nusa Dua; Written by Kate Lamb; Editing by Martin Petty, Ed Davies and Raju Gopalakrishnan and John Stonestreet

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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