G20 meeting: Western nations to ‘diplomatically snub’ Russia following invasion of Ukraine

Ukraine: Expert details Russia’s ‘ground assault’

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Moscow confirmed on Tuesday Finance Minister Anton Siluanov would lead Russia’s delegation at the talks despite repeated protests by Western diplomats that they could not go ahead as usual during a war in which thousands of civilians have died from Russian bombardments. A German government source told Reuters of the alleged boycott plans, accusing Russia of starting a conflict that has also sent world food and energy prices spiralling.

They said: “During and after the meeting we will be certain to send a strong message and we will not be alone in doing so.”

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen plans to avoid G20 sessions joined by Russian officials on the sidelines of International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings.

But Ms Yellen will attend an opening session on the Ukraine war regardless of Russian participation, a US Treasury official said.

British finance minister Rishi Sunak also will not attend certain G20 sessions, a British Government source told Reuters.

Meanwhile, a French finance ministry official expected some ministers from the Group of Seven nations to leave their seats when their Russian peer was due to speak.

Josh Lipsky, director of the Atlantic Council’s GeoEconomics Centre and a former IMF adviser told the publication: “The G20 is at risk of unravelling and this week is incredibly important.

“Should Western democracies allow the group to wither in favour of the G7 or other groupings, it would cede significant economic influence to China.

“Russia can align with China and I think that’s a good outcome from Russia’s perspective and actually gives them more influence than they have in a body like the G20.”

Both the French and the German official said there would be no agreed communique at the end of a meeting which had been originally due to discuss the state of the global economy and coordinating vaccine and other pandemic efforts.

Apart from the G7 nations – the United States, Canada, Japan, Britain, France, Germany and Italy – the G20 also incorporates emerging economies including China, India and Brazil that have starkly different views on how the global economy should work.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the fact that some G20 nations have chosen not to follow Western sanctions on Russia is only the latest challenge to efforts to construct a global set of rules for trade and finance.

The United States and China have long traded accusations of protectionism, while the fact that world trade is growing more slowly than the global economy as a whole has prompted questions about the future of globalisation.

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Ahead of the G20 meeting, a top IMF official warned of the risk of a fragmenting global economy.

IMF chief economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas told reporters: “One scenario is one where we have divided blocs that are not trading much with each other, that are on different standards, and that would be a disaster for the global economy.”

Separately, the Fund slashed its forecast for global economic growth by nearly a full percentage point, citing Russia’s war in Ukraine, and warning inflation was a “clear and present danger” for many countries.

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