STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT. Moscow. A Kremlin source to Russian news agency TASS that President Vladimir Putin will meet President Jokowi in Moscow on June 30. “This will be a very important visit. We are currently making preparations,” the source said to TASS. They said Putin would accept an invitation to the summit in Bali in November from Indonesia.
Meanwhile, Indonesian Muslim scholar Din Syamsuddin in Jakarta received a visit from a delegation of Russian Muslim figures led by the Head of the Spiritual Assembly of Muslims of Russia Albir Krganov.
Krganov said he hoped the meeting would strengthen relations between the two countries as well as Russian and Indonesian Muslims, and increase business cooperation, particularly between Russian Muslim entrepreneurs. Krganov said he and his delegation also wanted to see firsthand how Muslims live in Indonesia.
The Russian and Ukrainian ambassadors have turned Indonesia – this year’s G20 chair – into a diplomatic battlefield by holding tit-for-tat press briefings, becoming regulars at local newsrooms and giving interviews to present their versions of what’s happening in the actual warzone.
During the interaction with reporters, Russia’s envoy Lyudmila Vorebieva claimed that her country’s forces did not target civilians in Ukraine and the Western media had published fake news. When asked to respond, Ukrainian Ambassador Vasyl Hamianin shot back, calling Vorebieva a liar and war criminal who had “reserved a place in hell.”
The reason for this diplomatic battle is Indonesia’s position as holder of the 2022 presidency of the Group of Twenty leading economies, said Radityo Dharmaputra, an international relations lecturer at Airlangga University in Surabaya. “For Russia, Indonesia is important because they need to show that not all countries support Ukraine,” Radityo said.
“For Ukraine, they need support from countries other than Europe and the United States.” And Indonesia? It does not have an incentive to support either side, partly because its citizens have no affinity with Russians or Ukrainians, Radityo said.
Hikmahanto Juwana, an international law professor at the University of Indonesia, said winning the hearts and minds of people in the world’s fourth most populous country was important for Russia and Ukraine.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Indonesia Vasyl Hamianin argued that every partnership that embraces Moscow will potentially become a source of funding for Russia to continue its invasion of Ukraine. Vasyl’s comment was made following a Russian news agency report on Vladimir Putin’s plan to meet with President Joko Widodo or Jokowi in Moscow by the end of June.
The Ukraine ambassador responded by saying, “I will not talk about Indonesia’s position, as it is up to the government, House of Representatives (DPR), and its people to decide,” said Hamianin when Tempo contacted him via phone interview on Thursday, June 16, 2022. “But it must be understood that every dollar Russia receives, every barrel of oil sold out is used to finance this aggressive war,” said the Ambassador.
Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi said in a tweet on Wednesday that she met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussel, Belgium, on Tuesday. The two discussed regional and international issues of common concern. Retno also express appreciation for NATO’s cooperation in the evacuation of Indonesian nationals from Afghanistan.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said during a high-level meeting between Western countries and the Indo-Pacific region on Monday in Prague that the war in Ukraine was “only a symptom of more serious problems” in the world. Minister Retno conveyed Indonesia’s concern about the deterioration of communication between countries so that they are easily divided.
Retno said that the war in Ukraine has caused divisions in the international world. “Unfortunately, the war in Ukraine has erupted. In just four months, the war has created huge geopolitical and geo-economic consequences, affecting many countries, including in the Indo-Pacific.
Of course, what is happening in Ukraine is only a symptom of more serious problems, the deficit of trust between countries, the zero-sum paradigm, and the erosion of respect for international law,” the minister said. On Twitter, Retno tweeted: “Let us together revive the spirit of multilateralism, of peace and collaboration.”
Maritime Affairs and Investment Coordinating Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan in the virtual celebration of Russia Day in Jakarta on Sunday has affirmed Indonesia’s commitment to strengthening bilateral relations with Russia.
Luhut said the bilateral ties have continuously evolved in various sectors since the two countries established their diplomatic relations 72 years ago. The economic cooperation is paramount to the development of Indonesia and Russia’s bilateral ties, he said, adding that there is a significant economic potential that can be developed, particularly in the fields of trade and tourism.
Indonesian Center of Reform on Economics (CORE) Executive Director Mohammad Faisal on Monday said Russia’s attack on Ukraine was one of the reasons for the decline in Indonesia’s investment target in 2023, as the conflict triggered an increase in energy and commodity prices, which affected the global economy. He believed that lowering the investment realization target to 4 percent growth in 2023 was realistic.
In an online press conference on Wednesday, Ukrainian Ambassador to Indonesia Vasyl Hamianin said negotiations would begin after Russia loses the war in Ukraine. Hamianin said Ukraine had always wanted to negotiate with Russia since the war began, but the war that had been dragging on for more than 100 days was proof that Russia was incapable of negotiating.
Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Lyudmila Vorobieva, during the celebration of Russia Day on Sunday, expressed her appreciation for the growing cooperation between Russia and Indonesia, with bilateral trade volume increasing by 47 percent last year.
Vorobieva said Indonesia was one of Russia’s key partners in Southeast Asia, and that Russia highly appreciated the existing relations of trust and friendship between the two countries. Vorobieva said Russia was ready to develop cooperation in the areas of energy, including green and renewable energy, space exploration and transfer of high technologies, as well as many others.