Poland pushes call for Russia to be excluded from G-20

WARSAW (REUTERS) - Poland said on Tuesday (March 22) it had suggested to United States officials that Russia be excluded from the Group of 20 (G-20) of major economies as punishment for its invasion of Ukraine and that the suggestion had received a "positive response".

Polish Economic Development and Technology Minister Piotr Nowak said the matter had been discussed at meetings held in Washington last week.

"During the meetings with, among others, (US Commerce Secretary) Gina Raimondo, we made a proposal to exclude Russia from the G-20, which was met with a positive response and approval, and the matter is to be handed over to President (Joe) Biden," Mr Nowak told reporters in Warsaw.

There was no immediate response from the US Department of Commerce.

While not commenting specifically on the Polish statement, one US source said separately that Russia had violated international norms and so there should be consequences for its dealings in multilateral forums.

Russia was suspended from what was then known as the Group of Eight (G-8) club of leading economies after its annexation of Crimea in 2014. However, the G-20 is a much broader grouping that includes India, China, Brazil and others and any move to exclude Russia could struggle to find unanimity.

Mr Nowak added that Polish officials suggested that Russia's place be transferred to Poland "due to the success of 30 years of transformation" from a communist state to an open economy.

"Our interlocutors expressed support for our position and declared that if gaining unanimity under the G-20 to exclude Russia proves to be a problem, the US could consider leaving this club and creating another alternative structure," he said.

Russia has faced an onslaught of international sanctions led by Western nations aiming to isolate it from the global economy, including notably shutting it out of the Swift global bank messaging system and restricting dealings by its central bank.

In Geneva, World Trade Organisation (WTO) officials said numerous delegations there were refusing to meet their Russian counterparts in various formats.

"Many governments have raised objections to what is happening there and these objections have manifested themselves in a lack of engagement with the member concerned," said WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell.

One source from a Western country said those not engaging with Russia at the WTO included the European Union, the US, Canada and Britain. No confirmation from those delegations was immediately available.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.