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At G20, Putin Addresses Gaza Disaster, Global Financial Meltdown

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke today at the virtual G20 Leaders’ summit, convened by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the rotating G20 president who will pass on that presidency to Brazilian President Lula da Silva on Nov. 30. The meeting was attended by several world leaders, although U.S. President Joe Biden did not attend, nor did Chinese President Xi Jinping. Chinese Premier Li Qiang attended in his place. The backdrop to today’s meeting was the news that an agreement had been reached between Israel and Hamas for the release of hostages, which Modi welcomed in his speech with a call for the release of all hostages and that “Ensuring the timely and continuous delivery of humanitarian aid is imperative. It is also crucial to ensure that the conflict between Israel and Hamas does not take on any kind of regional form,” he said, but he made no mention of Israel’s slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza.

Of the Western members attending, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen felt compelled to express “shock” at Russia’s attempt to “erase the sovereign nation of Ukraine,” and “negate the rules based order.” Putin responded that military operations are always tragic for individuals, families and the country as a whole. “And we must certainly think about how to stop this tragedy.” But, he pointed out, Russia has never refused to negotiate peace with Ukraine but that, rather, Kiev has prohibited any such negotiations with Russia.

He addressed the West’s blatant double standard when it claims to be “shocked” about the war in Ukraine, but ignores Israel’s genocide in Gaza. Yes, Putin said: “I understand that this war and the loss of life are shocking and could not be otherwise. But what about the bloody coup in Ukraine in 2014, which was followed by the Kiev regime’s war against its own people in Donbass? Did that not shock you? Are you not shocked by the extermination of civilians in Palestine and the Gaza Strip today? Is it not shocking that doctors have to operate on children—do abdominal surgeries—and use a scalpel on a child’s body without anesthesia? Did it not shock you when the UN Secretary-General said that Gaza has turned into a huge children’s cemetery?”

As for the global economic crisis, Putin charged that it was a consequence of the “ill-considered macroeconomic policies of some countries.” The trillions of dollars and euros pumped into the global economy during the pandemic and afterwards caused a surge in inflation, a rapid increase in food and energy prices. “It is not our actions, not our attempts to restore justice in Ukraine. No. It is the actions of the world’s largest economies. As a result, we saw an increase in key interest rates. The poorest countries were hardest hit by that, of course.

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