Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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Biden will ask the G-20 to keep being tough on Russia over the Ukraine war.

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NUSA DUA, Indonesia—President Joe Biden was going to try to persuade the world’s biggest economies to further diplomatically and economically cut Russia off because of its invasion of Ukraine. This was happening even though the world’s economy is getting worse, which has made other countries’ resolve stronger.

The U.S. leader will continue his global tour on Tuesday at the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia. He will ask other countries to stand up to Russia and protect Ukraine’s sovereignty in both symbolic and real ways. The effort comes at a time when global inflation and slowing economies are putting more pressure on countries that punished Russia for its nine-month war, which drove up the prices of food and energy.

When Indonesian President Joko Widodo opened the summit, he told everyone what was at stake.

Widodo said, “If the war doesn’t end, it will be hard for the world to move forward.” “We shouldn’t split the world up into pieces. We can’t let the world get involved in another cold war.”

A senior U.S. administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity about the summit said Tuesday that the final communique from the summit will make it clear that “most” of the countries condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the damage it has caused to food and energy supplies around the world.

It’s not clear how many countries would agree with the harsh language or if the document would call Russia’s actions a “war,” which is a word Moscow has tried to avoid even though its military has suffered terrible losses.

Charles Michel, the head of the European Council, asked China and other countries to put more pressure on Russia over its war in Ukraine. China is Russia’s biggest backer. Michel said on Tuesday that the summit was very important if Moscow was going to stop trying to “use food and energy as weapons.”

U.S. officials have said that Biden’s trip showed that both big and small countries are willing to speak out against Russian aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin did not go. Instead, he sent Sergey Lavrov, who is in charge of international affairs. The president of Indonesia asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to give a virtual speech at the G-20 summit. This came just a few days after Ukraine’s foreign minister was invited to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Cambodia, where the country signed the group’s treaty of friendship and cooperation.

Chinese officials haven’t said much in public about how bad they think Russia’s war is, and Beijing hasn’t directly helped Russia, like by giving them arms.

Biden said that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping talked about Russia’s aggression at a meeting on Monday and “reaffirmed our shared belief” that the use or even the threat of nuclear weapons is “totally unacceptable.” He was referring to Moscow’s threats to use nuclear weapons as its invasion of Ukraine has failed.

The schedule for the summit doesn’t include a “family photo” of the leaders. This means that the Russian representative, Lavrov, won’t have to deal with an awkward situation. It was still unclear how Biden and other U.S. allies would act when Lavrov was given the chance to speak during the closed sessions of the summit. Some Europeans have talked about leaving the meeting to protest the invasion by Russia.

Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser, said that no one in the U.S. delegation planned to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS. This was after Biden said that Saudi Arabia was on Russia’s side because it led the OPEC+ cartel to cut oil production last month to keep energy prices high, which Russia uses to pay for its war in Ukraine.

It was also not clear if anyone from the U.S. delegation would meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi or other leaders whose help is needed to get a price cap on Russian oil to limit the profits Moscow uses to invest in its defence base.

The British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will be at the summit for the first time. Both are important new partners in Biden’s effort.

Sunak, who took over last month after Liz Truss’s disastrously short time in office, has promised to keep up the strong support for Ukraine shown by his conservative predecessors. During their meeting on Wednesday, he and Biden will talk about new ways to make Ukraine’s defences stronger in the long run.

Meloni has promised to keep giving arms and help to Ukraine, but there are still questions about whether or not her far-right coalition will stand up to Russia. On Tuesday afternoon, she will meet with Biden alone.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will not be there because he tested positive for COVID-19 after he got to Bali and said he was going home. So far, we don’t know of any other leaders who have tested positive, but many of those in Bali met with Hun Sen just a few days ago at a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian nations.

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