Russia says G20 Ukraine discussion is ‘destructive’

By Thomson Reuters Feb 20, 2024 | 6:49 PM

(Reuters) – The inclusion of the topic of Ukraine at the Group of 20 meetings is destructive and the politicisation of the Group is unacceptable, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday ahead of the G20 foreign ministers meeting in Brazil.

Foreign ministers from the G20 major economies will meet in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday at their first meeting of the year, presided over by Brazil.

According to the G20 Brazil website, the group is to discuss among others, “the situation in the Middle East and the Russian offensive in Ukraine, which continue to generate global concern over the humanitarian crisis and the geopolitical and economic consequences of the conflicts.”

Russia said that the topic of Ukraine is “non-core” for the G20.

“The Russian delegation intends to draw special attention of partners to the unacceptability of politicisation of the G20, which, according to its mandate, is designed to focus strictly on socio-economic challenges,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement on it website.

“The inclusion of non-core issues, including the Ukrainian issue, on the G20 agenda at the instigation of the West is destructive.”

Russia, which launched a full-scale invasion on Ukraine two years ago and has since been sanctioned heavily by many of the G20 nations, blames the United States and its allies for “pumping up” Kyiv with weapons and cash.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is travelling to Brazil for the meet, which is to be attended also by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, although no meeting has been scheduled between the two.

The G20 at its last leaders summit in September did not condemn Moscow for the war in Ukraine but called on members to shun the use of force, with Lavrov praising the consensus and Kyiv’s allies saying the G20 confirmed Russia’s isolation.

Lavrov attended the 2023 summit in lieu of President Vladimir Putin, against whom the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for the alleged illegal deportation of children from Ukraine.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Stephen Coates)