Indonesian President Joko Widodo to visit Ukraine and Russia amid ongoing war

Indonesian President Joko Widodo is set to become the first Asian leader to visit both countries amid the ongoing war. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA - Indonesian President Joko Widodo will visit Ukraine and Russia later this month, after attending the Group of Seven (G-7) Summit in Germany, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said on Wednesday (June 22).

Indonesia's top diplomat said at a media conference that Mr Widodo will hold talks with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv before continuing his trip to Moscow where he will meet Russia President Vladimir Putin.

Describing the visits as ones carried out in "an abnormal situation", Ms Retno said that Mr Widodo "opted to try to contribute and not to remain silent" amid the "complicated situation and complex problems" the world is facing.

He is the current president of the G-20 and member of the Champion Group of the Global Crisis Response Group formed by the United Nations Secretary-General.

"The president's visit shows (his) concerns over humanitarian issues; (he) tries to contribute to tackling the food crisis caused by the war, whose impact is felt by all countries, especially developing and low-income countries, and continue to encourage the spirit of peace," Ms Retno said.

She noted that Mr Widodo is set to become the first Asian leader to visit both countries amid the ongoing war.

The Indonesian President may discuss the issue of Russia's move to block Odesa, which sharply cuts food shipments out of Ukraine, the world's key producer of some commodities such as wheat and maize, Reuters reported, citing political observers.

Meetings of the world's 20 major economies this year have been clouded by the war in Ukraine, with Indonesia, as its current president, trying to seek a balance of interests among members, especially amid threats from some Western countries to boycott the summit and pushes to exclude Russia.

In April, Indonesia said it would also invite Mr Zelensky to the G-20 Leaders' Summit in Bali in November, but asserted that it would not pull back its invitation to Mr Putin.

Ms Retno did not specify the exact date of the visits, but Russian news agency Tass earlier reported that Mr Widodo was scheduled to meet Mr Putin on June 30, citing Kremlin sources who said the Indonesian president's visit will be "very important" and that it underlines the importance of Indonesia as Russia's partner.

Mr Widodo will attend a G-7 Summit from June 26 to 27 before travelling to Kyiv and Moscow and ending his overseas trip in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Indonesia is not a member of G-7, but is invited by the summit's host Germany as one of the bloc's partner countries along with Argentina, India, Senegal and South Africa.

The G-7 comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States.

During the media conference, Ms Retno also noted that prices of various food commodities, such as meat, dairy products, cereals, vegetable oils and sugar, and energy have been surging from the levels in January this year.

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