Western finance chiefs condemned Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine at G20 talks in Indonesia on Friday, accusing Russia of sending a “shockwave” through the global economy and its technocrats of complicity in the alleged atrocities of the war.
The two-day meeting on the island of Bali began in the shadow of a Russian military assault that rocked markets, pushed up food prices and fueled sky-high inflation, a week after the top diplomat of Moscow walked out of the talks with the forum’s foreign ministers.
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“Russia is solely responsible for the negative fallout on the global economy,” US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told the Russian delegation at the opening session, according to a US official, who spoke on the phone. covered with anonymity.
“Russian officials should recognize that they are compounding the horrific consequences of this war by continuing to support Putin’s regime. You share responsibility for the innocent lives lost,” Yellen added, according to the official.
The official did not say whether the Russian delegation responded. Russian officials did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.
Russia calls its invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” and blames subsequent Western sanctions for blocking food deliveries and raising energy prices.
“Russia tried to say that the world economic situation had nothing to do with the war,” a source from the French delegation told AFP.
Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers condemned Russia’s “immoral transgression” against Ukraine, saying Moscow must take responsibility for the impacts on the global economy caused by the war.
“Russia’s unjust actions have had a terrible human cost, but they have also increased global uncertainty,” Chalmers said, according to a transcript. “Russia must take full responsibility.”
Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland told the Russian delegation they were responsible for “war crimes” in Ukraine because of their support for the invasion, a Canadian official said.
“It’s not just generals who commit war crimes, it’s economic technocrats who allow war to happen and continue,” Freeland said, according to the official.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov and Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko participated virtually in the meeting.
Moscow sent Russian Deputy Finance Minister Timur Maksimov to attend the talks in person. He was in the room when Western officials expressed their condemnation, according to a source present at the talks.
Ukrainian Marchenko said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ‘clearly marks the end of the existing world order’ and blamed Moscow for the world facing hunger, inflation and insecurity energy.
“We need to stop the cause of these problems. The real practical solution…is to impose tougher targeted sanctions,” he told ministers, according to Ukraine’s finance ministry.
Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has warned her counterparts that failure to tackle the energy and food crises will be “catastrophic”.
The meeting largely focused on the impacts of war weighing on an already fragile global recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The actions of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin…amount to using food as a weapon of war,” Yellen said during an afternoon seminar. In another session, she said Russia’s “unwarranted war” had sent a “shockwave” through the global economy.
Indrawati said members had “identified the urgent need for the G20 to take concrete action” to address food insecurity and help countries in need.
A final statement is unlikely to be issued when the talks end today due to disagreements with Russia.
In Ukraine, rescue workers were digging up debris yesterday, a day after Russian missiles ripped through Vinnytsia in central Ukraine, killing nearly two dozen people, including children, in an attack that President Volodymyr Zelensky characterized as an act of terrorism.
Russia claimed on Friday that the strikes – hundreds of miles from the front lines – targeted a meeting of Ukrainian military officials and foreign arms suppliers, without providing supporting evidence.
But among those confirmed killed was four-year-old Liza Dmitrieva, who has Down syndrome and whose death sparked an outpouring – including from Ukraine’s first lady – after images on social networks social events of his last moment of life have gone viral.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “appalled” by the attack, while the European Union condemned it as an “atrocity”. Both called for accountability.
The Ukrainian presidency said 18 people were missing and 73 were hospitalized. More than 400 people took part in the clean-up operations, the emergency services said.
The heaviest fighting has recently centered on the industrial Donbass region to the east.
Moscow-backed separatists said on Friday they were closing in on their next target, Siversk, after wresting control of sister cities Lysychansk and Severodonetsk two weeks ago.
“Ukraine has decided to gradually withdraw its units from the city of Siversk,” Andrey Marochko, spokesman for the separatist forces, told Russian news agency TASS.