Putin gets cold shoulder, plans to leave G20 early

2014-11-15 14:25
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott greets Russia's President Vladimir Putin in the Reading Room at Parliament House during the G-20 Leaders' Summit in Brisbane, Australia. (Steve Christo, G20 Australia, AP)

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott greets Russia's President Vladimir Putin in the Reading Room at Parliament House during the G-20 Leaders' Summit in Brisbane, Australia. (Steve Christo, G20 Australia, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Brisbane - Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to leave the G20 summit early, a member of his delegation said, after Western leaders blasted Moscow on Saturday for the crisis in Ukraine and threatened more sanctions.

The Russian official told Reuters that Putin planned to skip a working session on Sunday at the two-day summit in Brisbane and bring forward his departure because he needed to attend meetings in Moscow.

Russia denied it was involved in a recent escalation of military activity in Ukraine, where fighting has claimed more than 4 000 lives, but faced strong rebukes from Western leaders, including US President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

'You need to get out of Ukraine'

"I guess I'll shake your hand but I have only one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine," Harper told Putin at the summit, according to his spokesperson Jason MacDonald.

Putin's response to the comment wasn't positive, MacDonald said in an e-mail, without elaborating.

Obama said Russian aggression against Ukraine was a threat to the world, while the European Council demanded Moscow withdraw troops and weapons from the neighbouring nation and put pressure on rebels there to accept a ceasefire.

Speaking on the sidelines of the summit, Obama placed security and climate change at the centre stage of the leaders meeting, overshadowing talks on how to lift flagging global economic growth.

'Russia's aggression against Ukraine'

Obama said the United States was at the forefront of "opposing Russia's aggression against Ukraine, which is a threat to the world, as we saw in the appalling shoot-down of MH17".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Union was considering further financial sanctions against Russian individuals because of the crisis in Ukraine.

"The present situation is not satisfying," Merkel told reporters at the summit. "At present the listing of further persons is on the agenda."

Europe's foreign ministers will meet on Monday to assess the situation in Ukraine and whether further steps including additional sanctions were needed against Russia, said European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

Putin's isolation at the G20 summit was also evident with his placing on the outer edge for the formal leaders photograph. While Obama and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping were met by Australia's governor general and attorney general when they arrived in Brisbane, Putin was met by the assistant defence minister.

Despite being under intense pressure, Putin was all smiles, shaking hands with host Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who had threatened to "shirt front", or physically confront, him over the downing of Malaysian airliner MH17 over Ukraine, in which 28 Australians died.

Ukraine only topic at meeting

A Kremlin spokesperson said the Ukraine crisis was the only topic discussed at a one-on-one meeting between Putin and British Prime Minister David Cameron, but he added both expressed interest in "ending confrontation" and rebuilding relations.

Putin also met French President Francois Hollande, and both agreed to protect their ties from the effects of sanctions, the spokesperson said.

Outside the summit, Ukrainian Australians staged an anti-Putin protest, wearing headbands reading "Putin, Killer".

Draped with the flags of the nations that lost citizens when the flight MH17 was shot down, the demonstrators lay on a large Ukrainian flag, in what they said was a protest at the "murderous acts" Russia's president was responsible for.

Economic growth

G20 host Australia had hoped that the two-day summit would focus on global economic growth, not security or the environment.

Obama also said the United States would renew commitment to its strategic pivot to the Asia-Pacific in comments seen as a veiled warning to China.

Obama insisted that Asia's security order must not be based on "coercion or intimidation ... where big nations bully the small, but on alliances for mutual security".

He did not explicitly point the finger at China, but there was little doubt that he was alluding to Beijing's maritime disputes and growing concern about its military build-up.

Environment

Despite Australia's reluctance to allow climate change on the summit agenda after it abolished a tax on carbon emissions, Obama spent a large part of his speech urging action on the environment. He pledged a $3bn US contribution to an international fund to help poor countries cope with the effects of climate change.

But Australia stuck to its economic script.

A plan to increase global economic growth by an additional two percentage points over the next five years was on track, Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey said.

"This ambition translates into about $2 trillion in additional global economic activity and millions of new jobs," he said.

Read more on:    vladimir putin  |  australia  |  russia  |  ukraine  |  g20 summit

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
55 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.