|War in Ukraine overshadows this year's G20 meeting|
Russia on Monday (20/6/2022) said several major G20 economies had politicized a meeting on G20 global health, condemning how the attack on Ukraine plunged the healthcare system into chaos. As reported by the Straits Times on Monday, the war in Ukraine is looming over this year's G20 meeting, with the current chair, Indonesia, struggling to keep the group united and resisting pressure from Western members to exclude Russia. "We ask our colleagues not to politicize the G20 health platform, stay within our mandate and discuss health care," said Russian Health Ministry official, Oleg Salagay, during a meeting of G20 health ministers in the city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Monday (20/6). )
Representatives of the United States, Britain, Australia and Canada urged Russia to end Russia's special military operations. Russia describes its incursion into Ukraine as a “special military operation” to demilitarize its neighbor and rid it of the dangerous Nazi nationalists who threaten its Russian-speaking population. Andrea Palm, deputy secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, said Russia's war was "directly at odds with the goals of G20 healthcare and our goals of promoting global health". "Far from promoting global health, Russia is disrupting healthcare services, destroying health facilities, and continuing to attack buildings where innocent civilians including children are sheltering," Palm said. Russia denies targeting civilians and medical facilities.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian troops destroyed hundreds of hospitals and other institutions and left doctors without drugs to treat cancer or unable to perform surgery.
At Monday's meeting, Russia fell short of most members over its prudence on the multi-billion dollar fund that the G20 countries agreed to set aside, aimed at strengthening pandemic prevention and preparedness. “The creation of so-called Intermediary Funds carries certain risks,” said Salagay.
"It is important to prevent duplication of existing international institutions and the fragmentation of financial resources as well as the weakening of the WHO's coordinating role and communication between organisations' programmes," he said. Salagay said it needed to ensure continued funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) to create its capacity to fight the pandemic.
China, which has refused to condemn Russia's actions in Ukraine and criticized Western sanctions against Russia in response, said at the meeting that it welcomed any efforts to improve global health governance and strengthen national health systems. It was reported to Bergelora.com in Yogyakarta that China did not mention the Ukraine issue.