Russia faces the blame as the G20 tackles the war in Ukraine and soaring food prices

Russia faces the blame as the G20 tackles the war in Ukraine and soaring food prices


The United States and its allies will on Tuesday pressure Russia to end the war in Ukraine, throwing painfully high global food and fuel prices at the door of Vladimir Putin during a G20 summit.

Leaders from the world’s 20 largest economies will gather in Bali, Indonesia to discuss rising inflation that has pushed millions more into poverty and plunged several nations into recession.

On the eve of the talks, Putin’s critics forged a united front, blaming his eight-month-old war for the global economic turmoil.

“Every household on the planet is feeling the effects of Putin’s war,” British officials said, referring to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s comments.

Even Russia’s ally China issued a subtle rebuke, with President Xi Jinping opposing the use of nuclear threats and weapons in Ukraine, according to a White House report on a meeting with US President Joe Biden.

Putin has decided to skip the summit as he grapples with the aftermath of a series of embarrassing battlefield defeats in a war his supporters believed would be over in days.

Rubbing salt in the wounds, Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy – fresh from a visit to liberated Kherson – will address G20 leaders in a video message.

In Putin’s stable, Russia will be represented by Sergei Lavrov, although the veteran foreign minister has been hospitalized in Bali twice in as many days with an unknown illness.

Moscow denied that the top diplomat had been hospitalized.

Despite being an experienced and combative diplomat, Lavrov is not seen as part of Putin’s inner circle – meaning the chance of a diplomatic breakthrough to end the war is vanishingly slim.

With Zelensky and Putin absent, “there is little chance of real peace diplomacy in Bali,” said Richard Gowan of the International Crisis Group.

Nevertheless, French President Emmanuel Macron extended an olive branch. According to a senior French official, he will call Putin after the G20 summit.

Host Indonesia still harbors hopes that the summit can result in a joint declaration that would show the big countries can agree on a way forward.

“Negotiations were almost complete, but we cannot promise anything,” a senior Indonesian official told AFP, adding that the issue of war remains the crucial sticking point.

US allies hope their arguments about the need to increase pressure on Putin will resonate with G20 countries, cautious about denouncing Russia but deeply concerned about rising prices.

G20 members Argentina and Turkey are among the countries hardest hit by food inflation, while South Africa and India are particularly reluctant to criticize Moscow.

“Ending Russia’s war is a moral imperative and the best thing we can do for the global economy,” US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on the eve of the meeting.

Gowan of the International Crisis Group warned: “If all Western powers in Bali want to belittle Russia, they will find that many non-Western peers will not play along.”

– grain corridor –

An expiring deal that would allow Ukraine to export grain across the Black Sea is likely to be another focus of discussion.

The deal expires on November 19, and Russia has already threatened to tear it up.

On Monday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed hope that Russia would extend the deal, saying the deal is vital for food security.

“I am confident that the Black Sea Grains Initiative will be renewed,” Guterres said.

Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain producers, and the Russian invasion had 20 million tons of grain blocked at its ports until the United Nations and Turkey brokered the deal in July.

“We must act urgently to prevent starvation and starvation in more and more places around the world,” Guterres said.

The build-up of the G20 was dominated by a first presidential meeting between Biden and Xi.

The pair cooled off Cold War rhetoric in a three-hour summit as they attempted to take some of the heat out of their smoldering superpower rivalry.

“The world expects China and the United States to properly handle the relationship,” Xi told Biden.

More to explorer