OTTAWA — Canada’s foreign minister told Indonesian leaders on Monday that Vladimir Putin and his foreign minister do not belong at the G20 summit in the southeast Asian country later this year.
But Mélanie Joly said Canada committed to helping Indonesia salvage the summit that it will be chairing as the G20 rotating president. The gathering was meant to be a major discussion on repairing a global economy battered by the COVID-19 pandemic before a major European war caused even more economic damage.
“Indonesia is in a difficult position, because clearly, the question of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hijacked their agenda for the G20. So, we want to make sure that we find a constructive solution for Indonesia,” Joly said in an exclusive interview from Jakarta on Monday.
Joly was speaking after meeting Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi earlier Monday and after Canada targeted Russia’s defence industry with its latest round of sanctions over Moscow’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine. Joly said the new measures impose restrictions on 33 entities in the Russian defence sector.
Joly said she will not share a meeting table with her Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, just as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently said the same went for him with any future interaction with Putin.
U.S. President Joe Biden has said Russia should be expelled from the 20-country alliance, but if Indonesia or other nations disagree, then Ukraine should be allowed to participate in the summit.
The G20 is a larger version of the G7 that includes non-democratic countries including Russia, China and Saudi Arabia and other large economies such as India and Brazil. All of those countries have not criticized the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The G20 is the world’s main multilateral forum for dealing with the global economy. Trudeau has said that Putin does not belong at the G20 table because his invasion is responsible for damaging the global economy.
Joly did not specify what sort of compromise could be found to make Indonesia’s life easier as this year’s G20 president, as she loudly echoed Trudeau’s criticism of Russia participating in the alliance.
“The G20 is about economic growth. And we want to do everything in our power to make sure that there’s absolutely no economic growth for Russia,” she said.
“My goal is to make sure that I am not sitting at the same table as Lavrov, nor the prime minister (with Putin).”
Joly said Monday’s new sanctions targeted the organizations that have provided support to the Russian military — directly or indirectly — and are therefore complicit in the pain and suffering stemming from Putin’s unjustifiable war in Ukraine.
The measures usher in asset freezes and prohibitions on listed entities including the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Integral SPB and Shipyard Vympel JSC.
Following Russia’s attack that began Feb. 24, Canada has imposed sanctions on more than 700 individuals and entities from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, Canada has levied sanctions on more than 1,100 individuals and entities.
On Monday, Russia claimed it had destroyed several Ukrainian air defence systems in an attempt to gain air superiority and mount a renewed push on the country’s eastern region.
The mayor of Mariupol, a key southern port that has been under attack and surrounded for well over a month, said Monday that more than 10,000 civilians had been killed in the Russian siege and that the death toll could surpass 20,000 once all the bodies have been counted.
Joly said it was “fundamental” that Ukraine receive more weapons from its Western allies, including more air-defence capability to “not only win the war but to protect life.”
“Our goal is to announce sanctions every week and to co-ordinate with allies,” she added. “There will be more sanctions, so this is not the end of it. We need to make sure that we stop Putin’s war machine and that’s exactly why we’re targeting the defence sector.”
In a weekend video message, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy argued that Russia’s aggression “was not intended to be limited to Ukraine alone.” The “entire European project is a target,” he said.
“That is why it is not just the moral duty of all democracies, all the forces of Europe, to support Ukraine’s desire for peace,” Zelenskyy said.