Zelensky snubs Russia as he addresses ‘G19’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on “G19” world leaders to end the Russian invasion, in a pointed snub to Moscow at the G20 summit.

Mr Zelensky appeared in a video speech beamed to leaders gathered for the summit in Bali, Indonesia.

Russia is a G20 member but President Putin is not in Bali, sending his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov instead.

Mr Zelensky also pleaded for an extension of a Ukrainian grain export deal due to expire soon.

A draft G20 declaration, seen by news agencies, said “most” countries strongly condemned the Ukraine war and agreed it was exacerbating fragilities in the global economy.

It also stressed that the use or threat of nuclear weapons was “inadmissible”, Mr Lavrov said the declaration had been “politicised” by Ukraine’s Western allies.

In his speech, President Zelensky said: “I am convinced now is the time when the Russian destructive war must and can be stopped.”

He outlined a number of strategies, including ensuring nuclear and food safety, the ending of hostilities, and a prevention of escalation.

He repeatedly addressed the leaders as the “G19”, excluding Russia.Chief among his requests was an extension of what is known as the Black Sea Grain Initiative which was struck in July between the United Nations and Russia.

It ensured that food exports blocked at Ukrainian ports by Russian warships could be shipped out.

The United Nations (UN) says since the deal began, 10 million tonnes of grain and other food have been exported, preventing a global food crisis.But the deal expires on November 19.

Mr Zelensky said the deal should be extended indefinitely, “no matter when the war ends”.”The right to food is a fundamental right of every person in the world,” he said, proposing to expand the deal to other ports in the Mykolaiv region.

Russia said on Saturday that there had yet to be any agreement to extend the deal. In return for allowing Ukraine to ship out food, it has insisted that Western sanctions be lifted so Russia can export its own food and fertilisers to world markets without hindrance. -BBC

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