Russia sees its function on the worldwide stage diminished by Ukraine conflict


SHARM EL-SHEIKH, EGYPT — From the U.N. local weather negotiations at this seashore resort on the Crimson Sea to the Group of 20 conferences on the shores of Bali, Russian diplomats discovered themselves on the surface trying in at key world gatherings this week — shunned and excluded over Vladimir Putin’s conflict in Ukraine.

Russia had huge plans for the U.N. Local weather Change Convention in Egypt, often known as COP27, scheduling 4 roundtable discussions. No foreigners agreed to talk on the panel; the Russians have been left to speak amongst themselves.

“I invited everybody but nobody [will come],” lamented former NHL star Viacheslav Fetisov, who’s a member of the Russian state Duma and chairman of the All-Russian Society for Nature Conservation.

Fetisov scrolled by means of his cellphone, pointing to prewar images displaying conferences with U.S. local weather envoy John F. Kerry. In a single shot, Kerry held up a hockey jersey on which Fetisov had written in everlasting marker: “John, get ready and let’s play hockey at North Pole and change the world for better! Your Russian friend, Slava Fetisov.”

“Right now, I don’t think [Kerry] will shake hands with Slava,” mentioned Sergey Rybakov, one other member of the delegation, utilizing Fetisov’s nickname.

The conflict has loomed massive over the local weather convention. Simply weeks earlier than it opened, Russia started waging intense assaults towards Ukraine’s power infrastructure, including to mounting considerations in regards to the world power disaster set off by the Russian invasion. On the G-20, the annual gathering of world powers, Russia has additionally discovered itself in an uncommon place: a number one matter of debate somewhat than a number one participant.

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi — who has remained pleasant to Russia all through the conflict, welcoming Russian vacationers and internet hosting Russian International Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier this yr — used his COP27 speech to name for an finish to the preventing. “This is a call from our conference,” he mentioned. “Let this destruction and killing end.”

Talking to delegates by video name, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of waging conflict not solely towards the Ukrainian individuals however towards the nation’s pure assets.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who addressed the convention in Sharm el-Sheikh final week, mentioned: “Putin’s abhorrent war in Ukraine, and rising energy prices across the world, are not a reason to go slow on climate change. They are a reason to act faster.”

In Bali, Sunak has promised to “call out Putin’s regime,” and Canadian chief Justin Trudeau mentioned he had “no interest” in talking to Lavrov, who’s attending the G-20 instead of Putin. Trudeau’s objective on the summit, he mentioned, was to make sure “that the world comes together to reinforce that Putin made a terrible, terrible choice when he decided to invade a peaceful neighboring country.”

Not like at earlier G-20 summits, there’s not more likely to be a “family photo” on the finish of this yr’s conferences in Bali, partly as a result of a number of authorities leaders mentioned they’d not take part if Russian delegates have been current, Indonesian officers mentioned.

A White Home official famous that leaders of the Group of seven international locations — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the USA — haven’t participated in any group images with Russian officers in practically 15 conferences this yr.

“Russia is waging war and killing innocent civilians,” mentioned the White Home official, who spoke on the situation of anonymity to talk freely. “I think it’s sensible there is no family photo from any perspective, not just the U.S.”

When requested if the Russian delegation felt sidelined at COP27, Fetisov scoffed. “What do you think?” he replied.

Russia is without doubt one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, and Fetisov mentioned it was shortsighted to disregard his nation’s perspective on the world local weather talks.

Russia permits methane leaks at planet’s peril

“Without Russia, you cannot solve these problems,” Fetisov mentioned of the local weather disaster. “The conflict [in Ukraine] could be over tomorrow. But you’re missing another year to make the right decision for the future.”

“We did not come to Egypt to talk about the Ukraine situation,” he added. “We came here to share our worries … share our experience … share our knowledge.”

The expertise has been sobering for Fetisov — as soon as celebrated as a Stanley Cup champion in the USA, now sanctioned by Washington for voting in favor of Russia’s unlawful annexation of Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk areas.

He’s banned from touring to many international locations, together with the USA, the place his daughter lives. “If [COP27] was going to be in another part of the world, I wouldn’t have been able to come,” he mentioned.

The identical is true for members of the Russian delegation on the G-20 in Indonesia.

For months main as much as the summit, Indonesian officers apprehensive that Putin would attend, inflicting different world leaders to boycott the occasion. Two days earlier than the summit, and hours after Russian troops have been compelled to withdraw from the Ukrainian metropolis of Kherson, the Russian Embassy in Indonesia introduced that Putin wouldn’t be attending and that Lavrov would take his place.

Bali Gov. Wayan Koster greeted Lavrov with a efficiency by Balinese dancers when he touched down on the island Sunday night. However on Monday, as different G-20 leaders kicked off packed schedules of bilateral conferences and panel discussions, Lavrov was largely lacking in motion.

Citing Indonesian officers, the Related Press reported that he had taken in poor health after arriving — a declare swiftly dismissed by Russia’s International Ministry, which shared a video of him reviewing paperwork in his beachside resort. The muted presence of the Russian delegation marks a pointy distinction to the G-20 convention in 2019, the final one Putin attended in particular person, and the place he made a splash by assembly with the USA, China, India and others.

A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Indonesia didn’t reply to inquiries on whether or not Lavrov deliberate to satisfy with any officers on the sidelines of the summit. China has not introduced any formal conferences with Russia, although Beijing joined Moscow on Tuesday in opposing using the phrase “war” in a joint communique to explain the invasion of Ukraine.

In G-20 talks, China objects to calling Russian invasion of Ukraine a ‘war’

Activist teams say world leaders must transcend condemnations on the G-20. “If all Western powers want to do in Bali is belittle Russia, they will find that a lot of non-Western colleagues will not play along,” mentioned Richard Gowan, who oversees advocacy on the United Nations for the Worldwide Disaster Group. Western international locations must work with leaders from China and India to steer Russia to reject using nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Gowan mentioned.

On Tuesday night, the Russian delegation drew a small crowd at a COP27 occasion, but it surely was rapidly disrupted by activists: “You are war criminals!” one shouted. “You are killing my people!” one other yelled. U.N. safety escorted them out of the room.

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