Zelenskyy urges world leaders at G20 in Bali to help end Ukraine war

Russian FM Lavrov remained in room during Ukraine president's video address

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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to world leaders on the opening day of the G20 summit in Bali to help stop Russia's invasion of his country.

Speaking by video, he told what he called the “G19" countries — indicating a group without Russia — that the war should be ended justly and on the basis of the UN Charter and international law.

Mr Zelensky, proposing an all-for-all prisoner swap with Russia, presented a 10-point peace plan to end the war, including a path to nuclear safety, food security, a special tribunal for alleged Russian war crimes, and a peace treaty with Moscow.

He also urged the leaders to use all their power to “make Russia abandon nuclear threats” and implement a price cap on energy imported from Moscow.

Mr Zelenskyy had a full room during his address with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov seated in the audience.

Mr Lavrov, attending in place of President Vladimir Putin, then responded to Mr Zelenskyy, repeating Mr Putin's stand that Russia was fighting neo-Nazis in Ukraine.

Earlier on Tuesday, more than 20 of the world’s most powerful leaders congregated in Bali for the first of a two-day conference, seeking to mend fractured opinions on issues ranging from Russia’s war on Ukraine, a weakening global economy and soaring food and energy prices that have disrupted lives.

“Being responsible means ending the war,” Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo said in his opening remarks. “If the war does not end, it will be difficult for the world to move forward.

“We should not divide the world into parts. We must not allow the world to fall into another world war.”

Indonesia is South-East Asia’s only G20 member and the first in the region to host the summit. It will pass the presidency to India, which will take the chair starting on December 1.

G20 member nations account for 80 per cent of the world’s economic activity and two-thirds of its population.

The member nations are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US and the EU.

Indonesia has also invited other nations to the summit, including the UAE, Singapore, Cambodia and Ukraine.

On Tuesday morning at the Apurva Kempinski, Mr Widodo — often referred to as Jokowi — welcomed leaders including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa and South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol.

He also greeted Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is attending on behalf of King Salman.

China’s President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden, who held a three-hour-long bilateral meeting on Monday evening, were among the last to arrive at the summit at a complex of luxury resorts in Nusa Dua in the southern part of the island.

The locations include the Apurva Kempinski, the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park, the Tahura Ngurah Rai Mangrove and the Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation.

Mr Biden is expected to lobby the summit’s participants to isolate Russia.

China has largely refrained from criticising Moscow over the war but has also avoided direct support, such as supplying arms.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who hosted dozens of world leaders, including Mr Biden, at a summit in Phnom Penh before the Bali meet, said he had tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving for the summit and would return home. Mr Biden tested negative after the two met in Phnom Penh.

Addressing the day’s first media conference, European Council President Charles Michel said he had no plans to meet Mr Lavrov during the summit.

“We should try to use the G20 meeting to try to convince all the partners to put more pressure on Russia,” Mr Michel said.

According to unverified reports, the leaders may reach a compromise communique at the conclusion of the summit on Wednesday by referring to the “war in Ukraine” rather than “Russia’s war in Ukraine”.

Updated: November 15, 2022, 3:08 PM