Indonesia Inviting Putin to G-20 Despite Pressure to Exclude Him

By BLOOMBERG

Indonesia, which holds the rotating Group of 20 presidency, plans to invite Vladimir Putin and all other leaders to a summit later this year despite pressure to exclude him over Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Asked about Putin’s plans to attend the meeting in Bali, Foreign Ministry official Triansyah Djani said Indonesia will “remain impartial” and invite all members in accordance with established procedures.

“Our position is quite clear,” Djani said. “We have always based our diplomacy on principles.”

The remarks came just hours after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison suggested he may boycott the summit if the Russian leader attended, saying “the idea of sitting around the table” with Putin “for me is a step too far.” Germany had earlier called for a discussion on the matter as Europe and the U.S. seek to isolate Putin on the global stage in response to his invasion of Ukraine.

“We’ve been raising concerns about this,” Morrison said at a Thursday press briefing in Melbourne, in reference to G-20 summit. “Russia has invaded the Ukraine. I mean, this is a violent and aggressive act that shatters the international rule of law.”

Australia has been vocal in its condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, providing some A$91 million ($68.1 million) in weapons and military assistance to the European nation. Still, Morrison refused to say whether Australia would boycott the meeting in Bali if Putin attended. 

“We want to make sure that the G-20 for Indonesia is successful,” he said. “We want to work closely with Indonesia as our partner.”

U.S. President Joe Biden’s warning of unspecified consequences if China supports Russia has smaller Asian nations worried they’ll be subject to similar penalties for maintaining neutrality. Indonesia wants to keep the agenda limited to economic policies, global health and climate change, a person familiar told Bloomberg earlier this week. 

Russia was expelled from the Group of Eight in 2014 by consensus from other members following Putin’s annexation of Crimea, which came after the toppling of Ukraine’s Kremlin-backed leadership. Still, it would be much harder to boot out Russia from the G-20 or APEC, which have many more members including China, one of Putin’s main diplomatic supporters.

China defended Moscow on Wednesday, calling it an “important member” of G-20. India has also refrained from directly criticizing Russia, which supplies most of the South Asian nation’s weapons. 

On Wednesday, Russia’s ambassador to Indonesia Lyudmila Vorobieva said Putin was still planning to attend the G-20 summit even though “it will depend on many, many things.” Russia appreciated Indonesia’s refusal to bow to pressure to exclude him, the envoy added.