Conflict in Europe overshadows G-20 in Bali as leaders condemn rocket attacks — H Talk Asia

UPDATED at 2:25 PM EST on 11/16/2022

The Indonesian president led world leaders to a mangrove planting ceremony on Wednesday to draw attention to the global climate crisis, but the final day of the G-20 summit on the tropical island of Bali was marred by the cold reality of the conflict in kidnapped Eastern Europe.

The war in Ukraine has overshadowed the two-day Group of 20 summit on the Indonesian island, with most factions in the world’s largest economies condemning the conflict.

Despite signing the G-20 declaration, Russia the day before launched one of its biggest rocket attacks on Ukraine of the nine-month war, killing at least one person in the capital Kyiv on Tuesday. As a result, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov left the summit prematurely.

Meanwhile, in a Polish village near the Ukrainian border, two people were killed in an unalleged rocket attack. US President Joe Biden convened an “emergency roundtable” on the sidelines of the summit early Wednesday. Poland is a member of the NATO alliance.

Biden said after the meeting it was “unlikely” that the missile had been launched from Russia as “preliminary information” disproved it.

“I don’t want to say that until we fully investigate it, but it’s unlikely that it was fired by Russia based on the trajectory, but we’ll see,” the president said.

The meeting was attended by heads of state and government from the United Kingdom, the European Union, Spain, Germany, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Japan.

In a joint statement released afterwards, the leaders offered support for the Polish investigation and spoke harshly about Tuesday’s Russian barrage against Kyiv and other cities in Ukraine, which they called “barbaric”.

They reiterated Ukraine’s “unwavering support” and remained poised to “hold Russia accountable for its brazen attacks on Ukrainian communities, even as the G20 meets to address the broader implications of the war.”

Yurii Poita, a political analyst at the Kyiv-based think tank New Geopolitics Research Network, said the timing of the attacks, when world leaders met in Bali, “shows that Russia is ignoring the international community and mocking their concerns power”.

“These missiles didn’t hit military targets, they hit civilian ones, especially the infrastructure,” Poita told RFA. He called the attacks “an attempt to create a humanitarian catastrophe.”

conflict and economy

All of this distracted from other G-20 issues, including the global economy, digital transformation and climate change.

Following the emergency meeting on the missile attack on Poland, leaders joined the summit host, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, in the ceremonial planting of mangrove seedlings in Bali.

Each leader received a baby mangrove and followed detailed instructions on using feeding bags and tucking it into the ground. Widodo, better known as Jokowi, led through the nursery. Executives heard about different types of mangroves and how they can live up to 100 years.

Leaders raise their garden hoes for a group photo during a tree planting event in the Taman Hutan Raya Ngurah Rai mangrove forest on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit Wednesday, November 16, 2022, in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool)

When asked by a Pool reporter if he had been briefed on the rocket attacks on Ukraine, Jokowi insisted that “G-20 is an economic forum, a financial forum and a diplomatic forum, not a political forum.”

“So we’re talking about the economy here,” the president said.

But analysts say the issues are intertwined.

“If Russia really cared about the impact of its actions on the global economy or its standing in the G-20 or G-7, it would never have violated Ukrainian sovereignty,” Nina Jankowicz, vice president of the Center for Information Resilience, told an international NGO, to RFA.

In a statement released at the end of the summit, most G-20 leaders condemned the war in Ukraine.

The document said: “Most members have strongly condemned the war in Ukraine, emphasizing that it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing vulnerabilities in the global economy.”

It also acknowledges different views among the G-20, noting that “there were different views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions.”

Commenting on the G-20 leaders’ declaration in Bali, Jokowi said: “I would like to thank all parties for their maximum flexibility in allowing the declaration to be adopted.” handed over the rotating G-20 presidency to its member country India.

Orysia Lutsevych, manager of the Ukraine forum in the Russia and Eurasia program at Chatham House, a UK-based think tank, said the statement further isolates Russia.

“Russia’s attempt to form its own coalition and reduce US leadership is failing spectacularly,” she said.

“It’s also a great victory for Ukraine as it tries to convince more countries to actively support Kyiv,” Lutsevych said.

Top Russian diplomat Lavrov, who represented Russia at the G-20 in place of President Vladimir Putin, appeared to have accepted the text after urging the inclusion of “alternative viewpoints”.

He was quoted by RIA Novosti as slamming Western countries for politicizing the document as “this is not the G-20’s business at all”.

Lavrov left the summit on Tuesday night in a decades-old Russian Il-96, but his team said the departure was planned, TASS reported.

This story has been updated with the summit closing and approval of the summit statement.