The White House is placing sweeping sanctions on Russia and pressuring every country to follow America’s lead, but the effort to isolate Moscow does not end at economic warfare. Western states are seeking to remove Russia from the Group of Twenty – G20.
The G20 – 19 countries and the EU are members – was formed in 1999 to allow the nations that made up 90% of the world’s global product to work together. Reuters reports that several Western officials are looking to remove Russia rather than attempting to use the organization to facilitate diplomacy.
One source from a Group of Seven (G7) country said, “There have been discussions about whether it’s appropriate for Russia to be part of the G20.” In 2014, the G8 removed Russia as a member and became the G7.
When asked about potentially removing Russia for the G20 earlier in the week, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said, “We believe that it cannot be business as usual for Russia in international institutions and in the international community.”
The Commerce Department said its head Gina Raimondo also supports the proposal.
“She (Raimondo) welcomed hearing Poland’s views on a number of topics, including the operation of the G20, but did not express a position on behalf of the U.S. Government with respect to the Polish G20 proposal.”
The next G20 summit is scheduled for the end of October in Bali, Indonesia.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it is inappropriate for Russians to attend the upcoming summit. “I think we need to have people in the room that aren’t invading other countries,” said Morrison. The Australian leader has been in “direct contact” with Indonesian leader Joko Widodo about Putin’s attendance.
Russia President Vladimir Putin had already received an invite to the G20 meeting. According to Lyudmila Vorobyova, the Russian envoy to Indonesia, Putin plans to attend the event.
While the US and its allies may like to boot Russia from the international body, It is unclear how that process would work. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin weighed in on the issue at a press conference,
“The G20 is the main forum for international economic cooperation, bringing together the world’s major economies. Russia is an important member, and no member has the right to remove any country’s membership.”
Several countries on the G20 have refused to condemn the Russian invasion or at least have refused to support the American sanctions on Moscow, including India and China.
However, the US and its partners could take a different approach and undermine the effectiveness of the G20 by refusing to attend future meetings. The World Trade Organization currently reports Western states are refusing meetings with Russia. Western officials have also walked out of UN sessions when Russian officials were speaking.