Vasyl Hamianin, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Indonesia
At G20 summit in Bali, Russia’s fate will be decided without Russia
15.11.2022 12:00

Attention to the 17th G20 summit, which starts today in Bali, is traditional, but at the same time it has a touch of intrigue.

For some time, it was fueled by predictions about a possible meeting between the presidents of Ukraine and Russia, because the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine had a noticeable impact on geopolitical processes in the world. Now that it is already known that the negotiating platform in Bali will bring together the leaders of 19 countries and representatives of the EU and the President of Ukraine will join the G20 summit online, the intrigue remains regarding the extent of the already announced boycott by some countries of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who represents Russia at the summit, and a final document that will or will not be approved by the leaders of the world's largest economies.

Ahead of the summit, Ukrinform spoke by phone with Ukraine’s Ambassador to Indonesia Vasyl Hamianin, who is currently in Bali and de facto represents the Ukrainian delegation there. The ambassador spoke about protocol points of preparation for the summit, tasks and challenges for Ukraine, the attitude of the G20 hosts to Putin’s absence and the potential impact of the decisions to be made by the Group of Twenty on the course of the war in Ukraine.


- Mr. Ambassador, how would you describe the general atmosphere ahead of the G20 summit? Has the news of the success of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the liberation of Kherson reached Indonesia?

- Just hours after the first footage emerged of the Ukrainian flag being raised in Kherson, I received dozens of congratulatory messages from my friends. There were also news stories about this.

Most of my Indonesian acquaintances – businesspeople, diplomats and just ordinary people - now greet me, saying "Glory to Ukraine!" It's just amazing!

As for the atmosphere, I can't say that it's any special here at the moment, because events have already been held here for several days - the Global Food Security Forum, the Business 20 economic forum.

Many distinguished guests have already arrived, everyone is discussing what will happen tomorrow (the interview with the ambassador was recorded early on Monday, November 14).

You probably read in the media that the Indonesian side is allegedly trying to convince representatives of some countries not to put too much pressure on Russia and to have a joint ‘family photo’ and communique of the summit.

But I do not really believe in the success of this, because I have no doubt about the determination of our friends and partners.

Indonesia is really trying to play the role of peacekeeper. But I would call it a pacifier, because peacekeepers are those who take up weapons and kill the attacker, and the pacifier says: "Let's not quarrel."

- Ukraine was invited to the G20 for the first time. What were the motives of the President of Indonesia?

- The presiding country invites some countries every year, agreeing on this with all the members of the Group of Twenty. Singapore, Cambodia, Suriname were invited to this summit - about ten countries that are of some interest to the G20 participants, that is, they are partners, neighbors, etc.

When, even before the war, we tried to convince our partners that it would be good to invite Ukraine to this summit, we were told that everything had been agreed long ago, and the topic was closed.

After Russia attacked our country, this issue arose again, but not in the context of curbing the aggressor, but in the context of "settling the issue peacefully through negotiations."

That is, this topic - to put Putin and President Zelensky opposite each other - has been in the air since March.

So Ukraine was on the agenda all this time, but, unfortunately, not in the way that every Ukrainian and our partners would like that to happen.

- What is currently known about the summit agenda? Have the G20 leaders already decided on the priority topics for future discussions?

- The agenda is currently not being disclosed.

Moreover, the order of speeches at the sessions has not yet been made public even to the delegations. The summit starts tomorrow morning, now it's 16:00 (Indonesian time, the interview was recorded at 10:00 Kyiv time - ed.), and they promised to us that maybe at 19:00 they will give us a preliminary order of speakers at the sessions.

That is, none of the delegations currently has any information about the sequence of speeches or the final document - they have not seen it yet. All this is still "boiling" somewhere, and, as they say, there have been no such precedents before.

This is due to the fact that Russia, or rather, the Muscovite region, in its "best traditions", broke all the rules.

October 24 was the last day for delegations to register for participation in the summit - this was the decision of the organizing committee.

As of November 12, Russia had not registered for the summit.

There is one rather subtle point here: when registering a delegation, it should be stated who is its head. It can also be a representative of the country who will speak online.

That is, if the head of the Ukrainian delegation is President Volodymyr Zelensky and he will speak online, then I, as the only person representing Ukraine here in Bali, will not be able to deliver a speech.

So if the Russians register Lavrov as the head of their delegation, he could theoretically be given the right to speak. But how will other participants of the summit react to this? After all, compared to those respectable people present here, he is nobody.

That is, Russia did everything to destroy the agenda that Indonesia had been carefully building for six months.

- When was the Ukrainian delegation registered? Did we make it in time?

- Of course! On October 22, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was registered as the head of the delegation.


- In Ukraine, one can hear the opinion that the absence of a mention of Russian aggression in Ukraine in the joint communique will be, if not a "betrayal", then a disadvantage for our country. If there is no mention of this or if there is no communique at all, what do you think that would mean?

- My prediction, which is based on the experience of a ministerial meeting in Bali in July, where there was neither a joint photo shoot nor a joint communique, is that there will be none this time either.

I really can't imagine a situation in which the leaders of the countries that have been fighting with us for many months - helping, supporting, sympathizing us in every possible way - would exchange principles, international law and humanism for just having some kind of document.

I think they won't do that, and it will be normal and logical.

- How do Asian countries see Putin’s absence at the summit? Is this seen as a sign of his political defeat or at least weakness?

- I will not tell you about all of Asia, because it is very big and different. I can only say for Indonesia - no, they don't. They see it like this: "Putin has some personal reasons for not participating in the summit. We understand that he won't come and won't even speak online."

Here, in general, everything is seen differently than in our country. The general principle is approximately as follows: we are for peace, we are against war, we are in favor of negotiations and resolving all issues by diplomatic means.

For example, I have not heard any official in Indonesia saying "Russia's aggression against Ukraine", "Russia's occupation of part of the territory of Ukraine" or "Russia's assault on Ukraine". They say "war in Ukraine", "Ukrainian-Russian conflict", and some others said "Ukrainian crisis".

Now almost no one talks about "conflict" and "crisis", but they say "war in Ukraine". This is very convenient, because everything is automatically shifted onto Ukraine, as if there is some problem in Ukraine and it depends on our country whether to end this "war in Ukraine".

That is, such a "no" formula was chosen, which does not tell anyone about anything. I "bomb" this in dozens of interviews and say that this wording simply does not correspond to reality, I urge them to face the truth. But, unfortunately, for the time being, the official factors continue to stand their ground.


- In previous interviews, you emphasized the importance of a bilateral meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping. What is a signal that they are meeting before the summit?

- I see it very positively. In fact, the meeting ahead of the summit, in my opinion, is a great signal!

I would say that this is a strong indication of the foresight of the leaders of the two countries, who can actually solve many issues together now.

The meeting before the official G20 events will allow, firstly, to calmly talk as much as necessary, draw conclusions, consult in your circles and go to the summit already with some position. We will hear very soon what that position is like.

I don't expect any geopolitical shift after this meeting, but Biden and Xi will find out each other's true positions on how to stop the Kremlin madman and get out of the war.

- Former Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin recently expressed the opinion that the main task for Ukraine at the G20 summit is to "unite the West and the non-West" in supporting our country. How do you see this task?

- We have one goal - our victory and the defeat of the Russian Federation. As for unification, as they say, you can't "cram something that can't be cram", i.e. put a cube into some form of a ball - it will just be a deformed ball.

But we can set the tone for this summit. We worked on this for a long time, but we were able to convince that it is very important for President Zelensky to speak first after the "Troika" grouping - the current, previous and the incoming presidencies — Indonesia, Italy and India.

And this should really affect the tone of the entire summit.

- Can the G20 summit decisions change something for Ukraine and somehow affect the course of the war?

- I am a practical person and I do not believe in documents that do not work.

For example, take the UN Charter, the Budapest Memorandum and so on - none of it works. This should not be the case - every document must be supported by mechanisms.

This can be seen on the example of our country: any resolution or law is adopted, and after that the concerned agencies must develop mechanisms for how they will be implemented. Otherwise, it will be a declarative decision that will be interpreted by anyone as they wish.

The same is true of the UN: there are resolutions, we know who is with us and who is not, but what next?

The same situation is with any papers that can be signed in one place or another.

These documents are important when they are consensual, and when, after adoption, something is done by the governments of the countries so that they are not recommendatory, but binding.

Therefore, any joint documents that will be adopted at the summit - although I think that there will not be any - will not affect the resolution of the situation. After all, we do not need the aggressor to be "pacified".

What is really important are the bilateral meetings, and I expect a lot from those meetings.

By the way, I am pleased that at the G20 summit in Bali, the fate of Russia will be discussed and decided without Russia.


- Recently, Ukraine’s Air Force spokesman [Yurii Ihnat] warned that while the G20 summit is held on the Indonesian island of Bali, the Russian occupiers may launch new massive missile attacks on Ukraine. Will Putin dare to do this, in your opinion? If so, what consequences could this have for Russia?

- I am not a prophet, so it is difficult for me to say something here. There are many people in the world with certain mental disorders. But when it comes to a person with any - even minor - mental illness, but with unlimited power, it is impossible to predict how he will behave.

In this case, we are talking about a person who has had unlimited power for many years, a long time of isolation and, perhaps, some physiological diseases, because he is not 40, age still takes its toll.

That is, anything can be expected. But did we have days without Russian bombardment? For example, I can remember one such day - when the president of Indonesia came.

To understand the extent of Russia's insanity, just recall the speech of its representative at the UN about "combat mosquitoes."

Therefore, at any moment, rockets or bombs may fall on us again.

But it seems to me that for the future of such a doomed, agonizing country like Russia, it is no longer important whether it will shell our territory again, whether it will shout about the desire for negotiations, or whether it will not do it - it is no longer a player. I repeat, its fate will be decided without it.

Let's be realistic - "dirty bomb" talks, nuclear threats are just to intimidate those who are either not aware of it, or want to hide behind it and find an excuse to, relatively speaking, do nothing.

I think, after what has already been done by Russia, none of its subsequent actions will change anything.


- When, in your opinion, will the world get rid of the fear of Russia, and we will no longer hear that Russia cannot be humiliated and Putin cannot be irritated?

- I think that the world will never get rid of it, and this will continue even when Russia finally falls headlong into the mire. Why? Because there are, as I call them, pseudo-feelings – pseudo-humanity, pseudo-compassion, pseudo-respect. Their carriers think something like this: "Of course, he is a maniac who killed a hundred people, but he is still a human being, God's creature, we shouldn't treat him like this, let's not mock him, let's not organize a public execution, because that is inhumane."

And this is what people say who, as a rule, have never been bullied themselves. It will never end! Moreover, the worst thing is that all this will happen in our country as well, with people saying, "we shouldn’t treat Russia like this, it's all over with them, we've already humiliated them, that's enough!" I've heard it before!

But we need to be strong and not engage in such conversations. Ukrainians are a hyper-tolerant people, and this is both our strength and weakness, because they will simply eat you!

Therefore, in this situation, it is necessary to be firm and set clear boundaries of what is possible and what is not, and not go beyond those boundaries. There can be no mercy for Russia, but there must be a cold mind that dictates the order of reparations, the mechanisms of its demilitarization, denuclearization and a long-term historical excursion into the past, so that every Russian knows what they have done for ten generations and feels ashamed.


- Finally, please comment on the results of the Global Food Security Forum and B20. Are there any positive trends for Ukraine?

- Regarding the B20 economic forum, I do not see any direct consequences for us, because businesspeople from all over the world gathered there and spoke about their own affairs.

At the Global Food Security Forum, they talked about the need to strengthen the financial system, take measures against inflation, switch to other sources of energy in order to avoid huge expenses and instability, and diversify food supply sources.

And all this is the right thing, but there is a lack of recognition of the reality that one problem must be solved, which is the root cause of all others and is connected with the aggressive Moscow regime.

I myself spoke at one panel and said a simple thing that everyone avoided: “You are now dealing with dozens of symptoms of one disease – food, logistics, finances, energy, social crises, etc. If you treat the symptoms, the body will not survive. It is necessary to treat the disease! Remove this cancerous tumor, and then we will start thinking about how to get out of the numerous crises that have arisen now."

I gave another example: a traffic jam on the road, which forms within ten minutes, dissolves in an hour, twenty minutes - in two hours.

It's the same with crises: every day when we dream, think, fantasize about Russia, turns into perhaps months, during which we will settle this crisis. That is, the shorter the period of entry into the crisis, the shorter the period of exit from it.

- Have you been heard and your arguments accepted?

- In Indonesia, I am certainly heard. I did not count, but I have already given several hundred interviews here. Moreover, they understand me. But I don’t know whether this will result in something practical.

At the Global Food Security Forum, there was an interesting discussion attended by Americans and Europeans, where they talked about these things very objectively.

But I will say, without naming names, that one Indonesian government official clearly said: our contribution to the cause of peace and ending the war in Ukraine is to maintain stability and security in the region and in the country itself and to join the peacemaking process, which, as I have already said, is actually "pacifying".

Therefore, I do not expect Indonesia to condemn Russia as an aggressor and provide us with military assistance. But I still expect them to provide humanitarian support to Ukraine, Ukrainian children and, as a mandatory component of this, humanitarian support to Ukrainian Muslims, because we have not seen this before.

Nadiia Yurchenko, Kyiv

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