On the 29th of June 2022, Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo arrived in Ukraine along with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as part of their European trip to Germany (to attend the G7 meeting), Ukraine and Russia. President Jokowi and his entourage arrived in Ukraine via train from the city of Rzeszow, Poland and has become the first Asian leader to meet Zelenskyy, which he has shown much appreciation for.
Indonesia’s goals in visiting the warring countries are peace building and finding common ground between Ukraine and Russia. Jokowi has taken the initiative and offered himself to act as a peaceful messenger between Zelenskyy and Putin, visiting both so that they can have dialogue, especially to restore supply chains of wheat, food and energy before shortages affect billions of people worldwide.
Prior to meeting the Ukraine President in the capital Kiev, Jokowi and Iriana (the First Lady of Indonesia) arrived by train in the town of Irpin, which has been under heavy shelling and gunfire by Russian forces. Jokowi and Iriana then crossed into Kiev to visit the Centre for Endocrine Science and Surgery, Organ Transplantation and Endocrine Tissue where they gave humanitarian aid, donating medical supplies and equipment.
Finally, the Indonesian President met his Ukrainian counterpart at the Maryinsnky Palace in Kiev. Zelenskyy thanked Jokowi for his visit as well as for his invitation to attend the G2- Summit at Bali later this year in November.
Zelenskyy has confirmed that Ukraine will attend based on the security conditions of the country and the composition of the other Summit attendees. Zelenskyy further stated how he see much importance and potential in Indonesia’s position in the near future, mentioning Indonesia’s current position as leader of the G20 as well as its future chairmanship of ASEAN in 2023.
Jokowi and his entourage left Kiev and returned to Poland in preparation for his visit to Russia to meet Putin. Indonesia has officially stated their condemnation of the Russo-Ukrainian war and have acted upon supporting Ukrainian victims. The Indonesian President commented before his visit that he would try to convince Putin to a ceasefire.
Meeting Putin on the 30th of June, they discussed peaceful solutions with Ukraine and the restoration of Russian fertiliser supply chains and exports. Putin has so far agreed with these demands, however similar to Zelenskyy, has not yet confirmed their attendance at the 2022 G20 Summit.
Indonesia has displayed much determination in peacefully ending the conflict, not only to end the suffering from the Ukrainian-Russian conflict but also suffering from shortages worldwide. Indonesia has shown their resolve even before Jokowi’s visit to Ukraine.
Jokowi’s visit to both Ukraine and Russia was announced after his visit to Germany for the G7 meeting by Retno Marsudi. The G7 met on the 26-28th of June in Schloss Elmau, a castle in Krün Germany. There, Jokowi voiced for the G7 members to cooperate in seeking peace in Ukraine and to resolve the current food and energy crisis as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, Retno Marsudi also co-chaired the Ministerial Conference on Uniting for Global Food Security during the G7. She shared the position along with her counterparts of Germany, France, the United States, and Senegal. Retno highlighted the importance of uniting to restore global food resilience and supplies in these times of uncertainty.
In order to do so, Marsudi said we must first continue to uphold international law to peacefully resolve the conflict in Ukraine. Furthermore, in order to restore the food and fertiliser supply chain, Marsudi stated that the world must collaborate to increase and diversify agriculture productivity and imports through investments while reducing discriminations in trading agriculture products.
Throughout the end of June, Indonesian leaders such as President Jokowi and Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi have been outspoken and have taken the initiative to act as a global peace mediators on several world issues, not only the conflict between Ukraine and Russia but also the consequential shortages in food and fertiliser supply chains.
Indonesia seems to have turned a new leaf in the past couple years, for formerly criticised as an inward-looking nation, to one that is especially concerned and passionate to the welfare and prosperity of the world. It is within Indonesia’s best interests to continue their exceptional foreign relations throughout their G20 presidency and into their 2023 ASEAN chairmanship.
Next, President Jokowi continued his diplomatic marathon by visiting the United Arab Emirates to discuss economic and investment cooperation. Prior meetings between the two countries have mentioned plans for development of new capital, restoring Indonesian mangrove forests and increasing Indonesia’s Hajj quotas.
- - Rifqy Tenribali Eshanasir is a Junior Researcher at the Centre for Peace Conflict and Democracy, Hasanuddin University, and an Alumnus of International Relations and Peace Studies at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan.