MOSCOW (REUTERS, AFP) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo said in Moscow on Thursday (June 30) that he delivered a message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Mr Putin hosted Mr 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 Group of 20 (G-20) this year and is preparing to host a summit in Bali in November.
“I conveyed President Zelensky’s message to President Putin,” Mr Widodo said after talks with the Kremlin chief in comments translated into Russian.
Mr 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.
Mr Widodo was in Kyiv on Wednesday before heading to Moscow to meet Mr Putin, who on Feb 24 sent troops into pro-Western Ukraine.
“Although the external situation is still difficult, it is still important to move towards a settlement and open dialogue,” Mr Widodo said in Moscow.
He said that his country would like “the war to end soon”.
“I call on all world leaders to revive the spirit of cooperation,” Mr Widodo added.
Jakarta has come under Western pressure to exclude Mr Putin from the G-20 gathering after announcing in April he had been invited.
Ukraine’s Zelensky told Mr Widodo on Wednesday that he will attend the upcoming G-20 summit in Bali depending on who else is attending.
Mr Putin on Thursday praised his talks with Mr Widodo as “productive”.
“I am convinced that the agreements reached today will further strengthen the Russian-Indonesian partnership,” Mr Putin added.
The Indonesian President said global food supply issues would not improve if Russian fertiliser and Ukrainian wheat is unavailable, and said he urged Group of Seven (G-7) leaders to ensure sanctions on Russia do not affect food and fertiliser supplies.
On his part, Mr Putin denied that Moscow was blocking Ukrainian grain exports and questioned the impact of missing Ukrainian agricultural goods on the world food market.
"We do not prevent the export of Ukrainian grain. The Ukrainian military has mined the approaches to their ports, no one prevents them from clearing those mines and we guarantee the safety of shipping grain out of there," Mr Putin said, speaking alongside the visiting Indonesian President.
He repeated Russia's assertion that Western sanctions are to blame for problems on the global food market and rising prices.
Mr Putin also said he wanted Russia to maintain its position as the world's largest wheat exporter. It currently accounts for around a fifth of global sales.