Indonesian President Joko Widodo says he gave Vladimir Putin message from Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky
- The Russian leader hosted his Indonesian counterpart as Moscow seeks to pivot to Asia and Africa in wake of Western sanctions over his invasion
- Widodo, fresh from a trip to Kyiv, said he expressed his readiness to help start communication between Putin and Zelensky
Putin hosted 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.
“I conveyed President Zelensky’s message to President Putin,” Widodo said on Thursday after talks with the Kremlin chief in comments translated into Russian.
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.
Widodo was in Kyiv on Wednesday before heading to Moscow to meet Putin, who on February 24 sent troops into pro-Western Ukraine.
He also visited the town of Irpin where Ukraine suspects Russian soldiers committed atrocities. Moscow denies the allegations.
“Although the external situation is still difficult, it is still important to move towards a settlement and open dialogue,” 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,” Widodo added.
Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Ukraine was one of Indonesia’s biggest wheat suppliers, but a Russian sea blockade has halted Kyiv’s Black Sea grain exports, threatening a global food crisis.
Jokowi has said he is committed to tackling the rise in food and energy prices and shortages since Russia’s invasion.
“All efforts must be made to ensure Ukraine can resume exporting food,” he said in Kyiv, underlining the need for safety guarantees for Ukrainian food deliveries, especially by sea.
Jakarta has come under Western pressure to exclude Putin from the G20 gathering after announcing in April he had been invited.
Ukraine’s Zelensky told Widodo on Wednesday that he will attend the upcoming G20 summit in Bali depending on who else is attending.
Putin on Thursday praised his talks with Widodo as “productive”.
“I am convinced that the agreements reached today will further strengthen the Russian-Indonesian partnership,” Putin added.
Additional reporting by Reuters