UK PM labels Russia ‘rogue state’
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is making no “attempt to explain his actions” in Ukraine, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wrote in a statement for The Telegraph on Sunday, ahead of his trip to Bali to participate in the G20 summit.
Sunak demanded that “leaders take responsibility” and “show up,” denouncing Putin for refusing to personally attend the summit “to face his peers” and for sending Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov instead.
The British PM went on to praise Ukraine and its leader Vladimir Zelensky, and outlined a five-part action plan intended to offer more support to Kiev and combat Russia’s “weaponization of food,” and its alleged attempts to “asphyxiate the global economy.”
“We will not let our economic future be held hostage by the actions of a rogue state – and nor will our allies. Instead, we will stand with Ukraine and we will work to deliver on each element of this five-point plan,” Sunak concluded.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has responded to the British premier’s statement by pointing out that accusing Russia of “weaponizing” food was “fundamentally wrong.” He explained that Moscow does not interfere with the supply of food to world markets and instead helps ensure that a small amount of these supplies are successfully delivered.
“The vast majority of food supplies from the global volume are not related to either Russia or Ukraine,” Peskov told journalists on Monday.
This comes as world leaders gather for the G20 summit in Indonesia, which will officially begin on Tuesday. Some believe this gathering may come down to a Russia-bashing fest, as Politico reports that Indonesian President Joko Widodo has been urging Western politicians at the summit to soften their criticisms of Moscow so that the event may end with a joint declaration from all members, including Russia and China.
Widodo is also reportedly seeking to avoid excluding Russia from the forum and making it the G19, which the G8 (now G7) did after Crimea voted to become part of Russia in 2014.
Russia will be represented at the summit by Sergey Lavrov after it was revealed last week that Putin would not be traveling to Indonesia, nor addressing the assembled leaders via videolink. Peskov explained on Monday that the president had decided to skip the summit because his attention is currently required at home and “circumstances dictate the priority” of him being in Russia during this time.
Although he will not be personally attending the summit, Putin has previously explained Russia’s position on the conflict in Ukraine on numerous occasions and has outlined a number of historical, geopolitical and security reasons which prompted Moscow to launch its military operation against its neighbor in late February.