In a series of tweets, Freeland blasted Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said since the G20 meeting was focused on the global economy, Russia shouldn’t be allowed to attend.
Russia’s unprovoked and bloody invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign democracy, has sparked global economic turmoil over recent weeks, adding to pressures already straining systems amid the pandemic.
A Canadian government official told Global News earlier on Wednesday that Freeland may also use the G20 gatherings to provide a direct rebuttal to any Russian statements made in the plenary session.
The official spoke on background as they are not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
A spokesperson for Freeland described Russia’s invasion as “a grave threat to the global economy, raising the price of food and fuel and hitting the most vulnerable among us the hardest.”
“Russia should not be included in these meetings,” said Adrienne Vaupshas, press secretary for Freeland.
“The world’s democracies will not stand idly by in the face of continued Russian aggression and war crimes. Today, Canada’s Deputy PM, US Secretary Janet Yellen, and a number of other democratic partners walked out of the G20 plenary when the Russian delegation sought to intervene.”
The news comes as G20 finance ministers prepare to meet on Wednesday while Ukrainians continue defending their country from the Russian invasion, which began on Feb. 24.
Russian forces are massed in the eastern region of Ukraine, preparing for what is expected to be an onslaught against Ukrainians in the Donbas and Luhansk regions.
But the port city of Mariupol is also at the forefront of global attention as a Russian ultimatum to Ukrainian commanders, warning that they surrender or die, expires.
Reuters reported on Wednesday there has been no mass capitulation, but the commander of a unit believed to be holding out in the besieged city said his forces could survive just days or hours.
With a file from Reuters.
With files with Global’s Bryan Mullan.