Sunak to ‘call out Putin’s regime’ over Ukraine war at G20 summit

Rishi Sunak will use the upcoming G20 summit to “call out Putin’s regime” over the devastation it is wreaking on Ukraine and the global economy with its invasion.

The Prime Minister jets off to Bali, Indonesia, on Sunday to join other leaders of the world’s biggest economies including US President Joe Biden, France’s Emmanuel Macron and China’s Xi Jinping.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has faced unanimous condemnation from Western leaders over the war, is expected to skip the event and send Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov instead.

The annual G20 leaders’ gatherings began in response to the 2008 financial crisis, establishing the summit as the main global forum for economic cooperation.

But Mr Sunak said this year’s meeting will not be “business as usual” as the world confronts the most significant set of economic challenges since then, caused or exacerbated by the actions of a G20 member state.

The first summit since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in February looks set to be dominated by the fallout from the conflict, which has driven up energy and food prices worldwide.

In a statement ahead of his departure, Mr Sunak said: “Putin’s war has caused devastation around the world – destroying lives and plunging the international economy into turmoil.

“This G20 summit will not be business as usual. We will call out Putin’s regime, and lay bare their utter contempt for the kind of international cooperation and respect for sovereignty forums like the G20 represent.

“In clear contrast to Putin’s disruption, the UK and our allies will work together to make meaningful progress solving the economic challenges we face and making lives better for our people.”

London Ukraine talks
Sergei Lavrov, Vladimir Putin’s long-standing foreign minister, will be at the Bali summit in his place (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Mr Sunak is expected to confront Mr Lavrov in a speech during the first plenary session on Tuesday.

Russia’s top diplomat is prone to walk out when challenged over the invasion, doing so at a G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in July.

Finding consensus on international issues is never an easy task for the Group of 20 major economies, as it encompasses geopolitical rivals such as the US and China.

With divisions deepened by the Ukraine war, there is uncertainty over whether leaders will be able to agree a traditional joint statement at the end of the Bali summit.

The Indonesian hosts are understood to have scrapped the official family photo as some leaders will be reluctant to be pictured with Russia’s representative.

Still only weeks into the job, the trip marks one of Mr Sunak’s first outings on the world stage as Prime Minister, after his flying visit to Egypt for the UN climate talks a week earlier.

He returns to the UK on Thursday just in time for the highly anticipated autumn budget, in which Chancellor Jeremy Hunt could impose up to £60 billion in tax rises and spending cuts.