Russia told to end ‘barbaric’ war on Ukraine by Rishi Sunak as he tears into Lavrov


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Ukraine: Sunak on ‘condemnation’ of war at G20Rishi Sunak has gone toe to toe with Vladimir Putin’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the G20 summit in Bali, telling him Russia must get out of Ukraine and end its “barbaric” war. Speaking in the plenary hall today, Mr Sunak blamed the conflict for worsening global economic challenges – and also criticised Russian President Vladimir Putin for not attending the meeting himself, saying: “Maybe if he had, we could get on with sorting things out”.The two-day gathering of leaders of the world’s major economies was opened by Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who warned the world would struggle to move forward if there was no end to the conflict.The annual summit comes as G20 nations are deeply divided over Russia’s actions in Ukraine, which have pushed up food and energy prices around the world.Mr Sunak said: “One man has the power to change all of this.”It is notable that Putin didn’t feel able to join us here. Maybe if he had, we could get on with sorting things out.”Because the single biggest difference that anyone could make is for Russia to get out of Ukraine and end this barbaric war.” Rishi Sunak pictured at G20 today (Image: PA) Rishi Sunak chats with Justin Trudeau at G20 (Image: AP)The Prime Minister said he “rejects this aggression” as he vowed to “back Ukraine for as long as it takes.”He added: “Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine has profound implications for us all, because it has undermined the fundamental principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.”We all depend on these principles. They are the foundations of the international order. They must be upheld.”It is very simple – countries should not invade their neighbours, they should not attack civilian infrastructure and civilian populations and they should not threaten nuclear escalation.” Sergei Lavrov at G20 (Image: GETTY)The economic issues “we should be focusing on today are made much, much worse” by Moscow’s actions, Mr Sunak stressed.He continued: “The weaponisation of energy and food is totally unacceptable,” he said, adding that Russia is “harming the most vulnerable people around the world” by destroying grain stores and blocking shipments.Mr Sunak urged fellow leaders to support the renewal of a deal allowing grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports to ease the global food crisis.He also praised Volodymyr Zelensky’s “incredible fortitude” after the Ukrainian President addressed the Bali summit via video link at the invitation of the Indonesian hosts. Rishi Sunak and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Image: GETTY) Vladimir Putin, Russia’s President (Image: GETTY)Western officials believe the number of Russian troops in Ukraine is now less than 100,000 – the force at the start of the invasion may have been as high as 190,000 – but the war threatens to “grind” on for months to come.A senior official said: “We are still expecting it to be largely static and we still expect neither side to particularly win or lose and really that extends all the way through 2023.”Although neither side’s forces are expected to collapse, supplies of munitions are a problem for both.The Western officials said Ukrainian assessments that Russia has just 120 short-range Iskander missiles and around a month’s worth of artillery ammunition were “in the right ballpark”. Ukraine territorial disputes mapped (Image: Express)At the G20, Mr Sunak is “confident” there is growing opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Downing Street said.Mr Lavrov “was left in no doubt of the strength of feeling by a number of G20 countries” during the first summit session, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters in Bali.The UK would want the communique issued at the close of the summit to be “as strong as possible” on condemning the war in Ukraine – although with Russia still in the G20 that may be an unrealistic aim.The Prime Minister’s official spokesman was also asked about reports that leaders could agree a draft communique rejecting the era of war and condemning the use of nuclear weapons. Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s President (Image: GETTY)The official said: “It’s part and parcel of these summits that there’s a sort of iterative process around agreeing a communique, and that’s continuing.”Obviously we want any communique, should it be agreed, to be as strong as possible, recognising that the G20 is a different forum to the G7 and that it’s largely focused on economic issues.”But I wouldn’t comment as inevitably there’s more speculation about what may or may not be in it.”Asked whether Mr Sunak has become more confident that a statement will be agreed, the official said: “I’m not going to put a prediction on the communique. What’s important is what actions come out of this. Continued support for Ukraine from a wide variety of countries.”


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