Poland first floated the idea, and it was discussed when leaders gathered at NATO headquarters. US President Joe Biden, who said he supported the step, also raised with leaders the notion of inviting Ukraine to participate in the next G20 summit, which is scheduled for November in Indonesia.
"My answer is yes," Biden said during a news conference when asked about whether Russia should be removed. "It depends on the G20. That was raised today, and I raised the possibility that if that can't be done — if Indonesia and others do not agree — then we should, in my view, ask to have ... Ukraine be able to attend the meetings as well."
Ultimately, expelling Russia from the G20 may be a bridge too far for some of the block's members.
Biden hoped to set a tone on sanctions by slapping restrictions on more than 300 members of the Russian Duma, the lower body of Parliament, and over 40 Russian defense companies.
The G20 is a multilateral format, and a number of states adhere to an independent position towards Russia despite the US’ pressure, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wednesday.
As the summit got underway Thursday morning, leaders heard a call for more help from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who addressed the gathering virtually.
He stopped short of issuing his usual request for a no-fly zone. But he did say Ukraine needs fighter jets, tanks and better air defenses: "You can give us one percent of all your planes. One percent of all your tanks. One percent."
It was an emotional appeal that one senior US administration official described as "eloquent." But it did not appear to move Western leaders off their deep reluctance to become more directly engaged in the conflict.
Following Zelensky's remarks, a senior US official said the US is still opposed to providing fighter jets to Ukraine. Previously, US officials had said such a move could be viewed by Putin as an escalatory step.
The G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation. It brings together major economies in the world, including Russia, which is an important member of the group. No member has the right to strip another country of its membership.
With the global fight against COVID-19 at a critical stage and a struggling world economic recovery fraught with rising instability and uncertainties, the G20 shoulders important responsibilities in leading global anti-pandemic efforts, improving global economic governance and promoting the steady recovery of the world economy. It should practice true multilateralism, strengthen solidarity and cooperation, jointly deal with prominent challenges in economic, financial, sustainable development and other sectors, and contribute to robust, green and sound global development.
China supports Indonesia, this year’s President of the G20, in advancing cooperation in various sectors according to the established agenda surrounding the theme of “recover together, recover stronger”.