CNA – Indonesian President Joko Widodo said in Moscow on Thursday he delivered a message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Putin hosted Widodo more than four months into Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine, as Russia seeks to pivot toward Asia and Africa following the onset of unprecedented Western sanctions.
Indonesia holds the rotating presidency of the G20 this year and is preparing to host a summit in Bali in November.
“I conveyed President Zelenskyy’s message to President Putin,” Widodo said after talks with the Kremlin chief. Widodo said he expressed his “readiness” to help start “communication” between the two leaders.
He did not provide further details, and neither side said what was in the note.
During a press conference with Putin, Widodo said that he hoped for progress reintegrating global food and fertiliser supply lines disrupted by the conflict, and offered to be a diplomatic bridge between the two nations.
“I really appreciate President Putin who said earlier that he will provide security guarantee for food and fertiliser supplies from both Russia and Ukraine. This is good news,” said the Indonesian president.
“For the sake of humanity, I also support the United Nations’ efforts to reintegrate Russian food and fertiliser commodities and Ukrainian food commodities to re-enter the world supply chain,” he said.
Jokowi said he had urged leaders of the G7 during a meeting he attended in Germany this week to ensure sanctions on Russia did not affect food and fertiliser supplies.
The war in Ukraine has caused major disruptions to global trade, with the prices of grain and wheat soaring amid a blockade of Ukrainian seaports and sanctions on Russia.
Speaking alongside Jokowi in Moscow, President Putin denied Russia was blocking Ukrainian grain exports. “The Ukrainian military has mined the approaches to their ports,” he said. “No one prevents them from clearing those mines and we guarantee the safety of shipping grain out of there.”
As G20 president this year, Jokowi has sought to patch up divisions in the group exposed by the war in Ukraine and threats to boycott the summit if Russia attended, as well as leveraging his country’s non-aligned position to push for peace.
Widodo was in Kyiv on Wednesday before heading to Moscow to meet Putin.
“Although the external situation is still difficult, it is still important to move towards a settlement and open dialogue,” Widodo said.
He said that his country would like “the war to end soon”.
“I call on all world leaders to revive the spirit of cooperation,” Widodo added.
Jakarta has come under Western pressure to exclude Putin from the G20 gathering after announcing in April he had been invited.
Ukraine’s Zelenskyy told Widodo on Wednesday that he will attend the upcoming G20 summit in Bali depending on who else is attending.
Putin on Thursday praised his talks with Widodo as “productive”.
“I am convinced that the agreements reached today will further strengthen the Russian-Indonesian partnership,” Putin added.