Canada says Russian presence at G20 meeting was 'absurd'

Finance minister says Moscow is responsible for economic consequences of Ukraine war

Canada's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said Russia should not have been involved in the G20 summit in Bali. Bloomberg.
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Russia's participation in a meeting of G20 finance ministers that was overshadowed by its invasion of Ukraine was absurd, Canada said on Saturday.

During two days of talks on the Indonesian resort island Bali, the finance chiefs looked for solutions to food and energy crises, while accusing Russian technocrats of exacerbating the problems.

Divided over Russia's war, participants failed to issue a final statement.

Canadian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said her government protested at the gathering that it did not even want Russia to be there.

“Russia's presence at this meeting was like inviting an arsonist to a meeting of firefighters,” she said.

“That is because Russia is directly and solely responsible for the illegal invasion of Ukraine, and its economic consequences, which are being felt by us all.”

“We were clear and explicit that Russia's participation was inappropriate and frankly, just absurd,” said Ms Freeland, who is also Canada's deputy prime minister and of Ukrainian heritage.

She argued that Russian technocrats who, she said, work to fund the war launched by President Vladimir Putin are as complicit in war crimes as the generals out in the field who are attacking Ukraine.

Ms Freeland also defended Canada's decision to allow the return to Germany of a turbine, repaired in Canada, for use in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline delivering Russian gas to Europe.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has criticised this decision.

“The energy challenges that Germany and many of our European partners face are very real. And Canada recognises that,” Ms Freeland said.

Updated: July 17, 2022, 4:21 AM