Russia rejects G20 focus on security

Putin, though reportedly too busy to attend the global summit, did not accept security as a central focus point for the G20.

 Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets Argentina's Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero during the G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia July 8, 2022.  (photo credit: RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets Argentina's Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero during the G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia July 8, 2022.
(photo credit: RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Russia on Sunday called for the G20 to stop talking about security and focus on the world's most pressing socio-economic problems, ahead of a summit set to be dominated by Western criticism of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The G20 - a group of the world's largest economies that make up more than 80% of global GDP - is set to meet on the Indonesian island of Bali this week, with Western leaders including US President Joe Biden expected to use the high-profile forum to slam Russia publicly over the war in Ukraine.

Russia's stance on G20

In a statement issued ahead of the summit, Russia's foreign ministry said it was "fundamentally important that the G20 concentrate its efforts on real, rather than imaginary, threats."

It added: "We are convinced that the G20 is called upon to deal with socio-economic problems. Expanding its agenda into areas of peace and security, which many countries are talking about, is not viable. This would be a direct incursion on the mandate of the United Nations Security Council and will undermine the atmosphere of trust and cooperation in the G20."

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will head Russia's delegation to the summit - the first since Moscow invaded Ukraine in February - after the Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin was too busy to attend.

 Head of delegates prepare for a meeting on the last day of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, February 18, 2022.  (credit: Mast Irham / Pool via REUTERS) Head of delegates prepare for a meeting on the last day of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, February 18, 2022. (credit: Mast Irham / Pool via REUTERS)

Earlier on Sunday, Lavrov scolded the West for seeking to "militarize" southeast Asia, in comments that set the stage for a potentially tense confrontation at the G20.

Russia said the global food crisis would form a key part of the agenda in Bali, which falls just days before the landmark Black Sea grain deal could expire on Nov. 19.

Moscow is calling for the West to ease some sanctions that it says block crucial agricultural and fertilizer exports and has so far refused to commit to extending the deal, which facilitates grain exports from Ukraine's southern ports.