Rishi Sunak said “countries should not invade their neighbours” as he condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the G20 summit in Bali.
Facing Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the plenary hall, the Prime Minister called on Moscow to “get out of Ukraine and end this barbaric war”, accusing the conflict of aggravating global economic challenges.
He criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin for avoiding the meeting, saying: “Maybe if he had, we could continue to work things out.”
The two-day gathering of leaders from major world economies was opened by Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who said the world would struggle to move forward “if the war doesn’t end”.
The annual summit comes as G20 countries are deeply divided over Russia’s actions in Ukraine, which have driven up food and energy prices around the world.
In his speech, Mr. Sunak declared that the context of this G20 “is austere”.
According to a Downing Street transcript of his closed-door speech, the Prime Minister said: “Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine has profound implications for all of us, as it has undermined fundamental principles of sovereignty and justice. territorial integrity.
“We all depend on these principles. They are the foundations of the international order. They must be respected.
“It’s very simple – countries must not invade their neighbours, they must not attack civilian infrastructure and civilian populations, and they must not threaten nuclear escalation.”
He said the economic issues that “we should be focusing on today are much, much worse” by Moscow’s actions.
“The militarization of energy and food is completely unacceptable,” he said, adding that Russia “harms the world’s most vulnerable people” by destroying grain warehouses and blocking shipments.
Mr Sunak urged his fellow leaders to support the renewal of an agreement allowing grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports to ease the global food crisis.
He continued, “One man has the power to change all of that.
“It should be noted that Putin did not feel able to join us here. Maybe if he did, we could start to work things out.
“Because the biggest difference anyone could make is for Russia to get out of Ukraine and end this barbaric war.”
The prime minister said he “rejects this aggression” as he pledged to “support Ukraine for as long as necessary”.
He hailed the “incredible courage” of Volodymyr Zelensky after the Ukrainian president addressed the Bali summit via video link at the invitation of the Indonesian hosts.
Mr Sunak is holding a series of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the event, which began with drinks and snacks with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau shortly after the Prime Minister arrived on the tropical island on Monday.
More controversially, he is due to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday, who is widely believed to be involved in the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
He also has individual talks with US President Joe Biden, Mr. Widodo of Indonesia, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and new Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Wednesday.
Mr Sunak will return to the UK on Thursday in time for his budget, in which Jeremy Hunt could impose up to £60billion in tax hikes and spending cuts.