- Prime Minister of Canada and US President told Russian President that Russia needs to leave Ukraine
- The two-day summit will focus on promoting economic growth
- World Leaders at the summit are to elaborate on plans agreed by G20 finance ministers in February
- Plans are aimed at boosting global growth
- Russian President plans to leave summit on Sunday
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he needed to “get out of Ukraine”.
US President Barack Obama said Moscow’s “aggression” in Ukraine was a “threat to the world”, while the UK threatened more sanctions unless Russia stopped “destabilising” its neighbour.
Promoting economic growth
The two-day G20 Summit in Brisbane is focusing on promoting economic growth.
World leaders are expected to elaborate on plans agreed by G20 finance ministers in February to boost global growth by 2% in five years.
However, Saturday – the first of the two-day summit – was dominated by Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have been fighting government forces in eastern regions.
Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Russia of sending military forces across the border, something the Kremlin denies.
The EU imposed sanctions when Russia annexed Crimea in March and has added further measures since.
Before the G20 summit began, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said there would “have to be a very different relationship” between Europe and Russia if “we continue to see Russian troops” inside Ukraine, adding that there was “the potential for further sanctions”.
Mr Cameron later held a private meeting with Mr Putin. The two discussed “rebuilding relations”, Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
The Russian president faced a frosty reception from Canada’s Mr Harper.
“I’ll shake your hand, but I only have one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine,” Mr Harper told him, the Canadian leader’s spokesman said.
Planning to leave on Sunday
President Obama said the US was at the forefront of “opposing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, which is a threat to the world”.
Russian officials said he was planning to leave the summit on Sunday ahead of schedule, but gave no reasons for the move.
Meeting on the margins of the summit on Saturday, Mr Putin urged his French counterpart Francois Hollande to join him to defuse tensions between the two countries over Ukraine.
France has withheld the delivery of two warships to the Russian navy over its actions in Ukraine.
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine heightened after March 16, 2014, when a referendum was held in Crimea a territorial town formerly in Ukriane on whether Crimea can join Russia. The pro-Russian separatists had taken over the Supreme Council of Crimea before the referendum was held which most voted to join Russia.
The action triggered rift between the Russian government and other western countries with several sanctions announced.
The “Group of Twenty” comprises 19 countries and the European Union and it represents two-thirds of the world’s population, 85% of global GDP and over 75% of global trade.
It began in 1999 as an annual meeting for finance ministers and central bank governors following the Asian financial crisis, before evolving to also include a summit for countries’ leaders in 2008, after the global financial crisis.
The G20 meetings are aimed at deepening economic co-operation and strengthening the global economy.