During two days of talks at a meeting in Bali, finance chiefs sought solutions to the food and energy crises, while accusing Russian technocrats of making the problem worse. However, the participants did not issue a final statement.
Freeland said his government was protesting the meeting. They don’t even want Russia at the G20 forum.
“Russia’s presence at this meeting is like inviting arsonists to a meeting of firefighters,” he told a news conference by phone from Bali.
“It’s because Russia is directly and solely responsible for the illegal invasion of Ukraine and its economic consequences, which are felt by all of us,” Freeland said.
“We are clear and explicit that Russia’s involvement is inappropriate and frankly absurd,” said Freeland, who is also deputy prime minister of Canada and of Ukrainian descent.
Freeland argues that the Russian technocrats who he said worked to fund the war launched by President Vladimir Putin were as complicit in war crimes as the generals in the field who attacked Ukraine.
Freeland also defended Canada’s decision to allow the turbines, which were repaired in Canada, to be returned to Germany for use in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline that ships Russian gas to Europe. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky strongly criticized this decision.
“The energy challenges facing Germany and many of our European partners are very real. And Canada recognizes that,” he said.
Earlier, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen strongly condemned the Russian delegation for continuing to support President Vladimir Putin even as he launched an invasion of Ukraine and worsened the global economy.
Yellen held Russia responsible for the “terrible consequences” of the war started by Putin. He expressed the criticism during his speech at the opening session of the meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 countries in Bali on Thursday (15/7).
At the meeting, the Russian delegation was led by Russian Deputy Finance Minister Timur Maksimov. Meanwhile, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov joined the meeting virtually as Yellen spoke.
Western countries, particularly the United States, continue to urge Russia to ban participation in this year’s G20 meeting, hosted by Indonesia in a strong rejection of its invasion of Ukraine in February.
However, Indonesia, as chair of the G20 this year, stressed that it would remain neutral and invite all members, including Russia.
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