The Australian government has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a continuation of the economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Addressing finance ministers from around the world, Treasurer Jim Chalmers said not only resulted in loss of life, but also increased global uncertainty.
The Treasurer, along with the head of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Philip Low, will attend a two-day summit of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Bali.
Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Low (left) and Treasurer Jim Chalmers (right) at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia. Source: A MONKEY / Made by Nagi / AP
“It was the Russian invasion that undermined energy and food security, not sanctions, and therefore Russia must take full responsibility for this,” Chalmers said at a meeting on Friday.
“The global economic situation has deteriorated and we are entering a difficult, if not dangerous, phase with costs and consequences for all of us.
“It’s a sobering reality we’re facing.”
But in the middle it was also an opportunity for the world to take Mr Chalmers said.
“Increasing energy security uncertainty, Russia’s war with Ukraine has also heightened the urgent need to find cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy – an area where my government can now show renewed commitment,” he said.
Mr Chalmers said world leaders will need to work together to get through the difficult economic times ahead.
“The collective response must be carefully calibrated to ensure sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth so that all of our economies and all of our societies can be stronger post-COVID than they were before,” he said.
While previous discussions have been dominated by tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s finance minister will address the summit virtually and send a deputy in person.
Finance Minister of Ukraine Serhiy Marchenko has also been invited to the G20 summit and will deliver a virtual address.
Mr Chalmers praised Mr Marchenko and the “courageous” people of Ukraine, saying that Australia strongly supports the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Minister’s warning as Russo-Ukrainian war overshadows talks
The move came after Indonesia’s finance minister warned that the failure of G20 financial leaders to reach consensus during the Bali talks could have “catastrophic consequences” for low-income countries facing soaring food and energy prices.
Representatives of the G20 largest economies are meeting on the resort island as host Indonesia tries to find common ground in a group weakened by the war in Ukraine and growing economic pressure from soaring inflation.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has overshadowed recent G20 meetings, including .
Shri Mulyani Indrawati said the world had high hopes that the group could find a solution to the triple threat of war, rising commodity prices and their side effects on the ability of low-income countries to repay debts.
Indonesian Finance Minister Shri Mulyani Indrawati (center) warned that the failure of G20 financial leaders to reach consensus during the Bali talks could be a “catastrophe” for the underprivileged. Source: A MONKEY / MADE NAGI / POOL / EPA
“We are well aware that the cost of our inability to work together exceeds our ability,” said the finance minister.
“The humanitarian consequences for the world, and especially for many low-income countries, will be catastrophic.”
The G20 includes Western countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia and accuse it of war crimes in Ukraine, which it denies, as well as countries including China, India and South Africa that have been more restrained in their responses.
Shri Mulyani urged G20 members to talk less about politics and “build bridges with each other” to make more technical decisions and actions.
“We need to strengthen the spirit of multilateralism, we also need to create a security system for our future cooperation,” she said.
German and French officials expressed skepticism about the possibility of reaching common ground due to tensions over Ukraine.