BRUSSELS: The EU will prevent Russia using a G20 meeting in Indonesia as a “propaganda forum” for its disinformation on the impacts of its war in Ukraine, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

Energy and food crises exacerbated by Russia’s invasion “feature prominently on the agenda of the G20” meeting of foreign ministers, to be attended by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, his spokeswoman Nabila Massrali said.

Russian President Vladimir “Putin’s appalling war of aggression against Ukraine excludes any business as usual, and will be clearly addressed,” she said.

“We refute Russian disinformation and its attempt to use the G20 as a propaganda forum.”

Borrell has no meeting scheduled with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during the two-day gathering in Bali.

While the EU, the United States and Western partners have snubbed Russian delegations in other international meetings since the invasion of Ukraine, the G20 was seen as an outreach opportunity to other countries that might be swayed by Moscow’s narrative.

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But Massrali said that “Russia’s high level political participation at the G20 meeting may pose a threat to the G20’s credibility, efficiency and relevance”.

She added: “We are committed to ensuring the success of the G20 forum ministerial in Bali, but we will not allow Moscow to abuse G20 as its own propaganda platform.”

Indonesia, the G20’s host country, has invited Putin to a follow-up summit in Bali in November despite Western efforts to freeze him out.

But in an effort to balance that event it has also invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Massrali said there was no question of the EU boycotting the G20, calling it “too important also for the developing countries and for the emerging economies”.

“We need to ensure that multilateralism can work in times of crisis,” she said.


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