Declaration of G20 leaders condemning the Russian war ‘in the strongest terms’

Bali, Indonesia

Russia’s international isolation deepened on Wednesday, as world leaders issued a joint declaration condemning its war in Ukraine that has killed thousands of people and wreaked havoc on the global economy.

The G-20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, concluded on Wednesday with a statement by the leaders that “deplores in the strongest terms the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demands its complete and unconditional withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine.”

Speaking after the conclusion of the summit, Indonesian President and G20 host Joko Widodo said in a press conference that “world leaders agreed on the content of the declaration, i.e. condemnation of the war in Ukraine” which violates its territorial integrity. However, some of the language used in the announcement referred to disagreement among members over issues over Ukraine.

This war has caused enormous public suffering and has endangered the still-vulnerable global economy, which has also created risks of food and energy crises, as well as a financial crisis. The G20 discussed the impact of the war on the global economy.

The 17-page document is a major victory for the United States and its allies, who pressed to end the summit with a strong condemnation of Russia, though it also acknowledged a rift among the member states.

“Most members strongly condemn the war in Ukraine and stress that it is causing enormous human suffering and exacerbating existing fragility in the global economy,” she added. “There were other opinions and different assessments of the situation and the sanctions.”

Jokowi said that the G20 members’ stance on the war in Ukraine was the “most discussed” paragraph.

“Until late midnight yesterday, we discussed this matter, and in the end it was agreed to unanimously declare the leaders of Bali,” Jokowi said.

“We agreed that war has a negative impact on the global economy, and global economic recovery will not be achieved without any peace.”

The statement came hours after Poland said a “Russian-made missile” had landed in a village near its border with Ukraine, killing two people.

It is not yet clear who fired that missile. Russian and Ukrainian forces have used Russian-made munitions during the conflict, with Ukraine deploying Russian-made missiles as part of its air defense system. But whatever the outcome of the investigation into the fatal blow, the incident highlights the dangers of miscalculation in a brutal war that has lasted nearly nine months, and which threatens to escalate further and draw major powers into it.

Upon waking up to the news, US President Joe Biden and leaders of the G7 and NATO held an emergency meeting in Bali to discuss the explosion.

Passing the joint declaration would have required the endorsement of leaders with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin — most notably Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who declared “borderless” friendship between their two countries weeks before the invasion, and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While India is seen as distancing itself from Russia, whether there has been any shift in attitude from China is less clear. Chinese leader Xi Jinping has called for a cease-fire and agreed to oppose the use of nuclear weapons in a series of bilateral meetings with Western leaders on the sidelines of the G-20, but has made no public sign of any commitment to persuading his “close friend.” Vladimir Putin to end the war.

Since Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine in February, Beijing has refused to characterize military aggression as an “invasion” or “war,” doubling down on Russian propaganda blaming the conflict on NATO and the United States while decrying sanctions.

When discussing Ukraine with leaders from the United States, France and other countries, Xi has always stuck to terms like “Ukraine crisis” or “Ukraine issue” and avoided the word “war”, according to Chinese readouts.

In those meetings, Xi reiterated China’s call for a cease-fire through dialogue and, according to readings from his interlocutors, agreed to oppose the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine—but these statements were not included in China’s account of the talks.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi later told Chinese state media that Xi reiterated China’s position in his meeting with Biden that “nuclear weapons cannot be used and a nuclear war cannot be waged.”

Wang, in a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday, praised Russia for taking the same position. “China has noted that Russia has recently reaffirmed its firm stance that ‘nuclear war is unwinnable and should never be fought’, which shows Russia’s rational and responsible stance,” Wang was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

Wang is one of the few — if not only — foreign officials to sit in on a formal meeting with Lavrov, who faced isolation and condemnation at a summit where he sided with Putin.

On Tuesday, Lavrov sat through the opening of the summit, listening to world leaders condemn Russia’s brutal invasion. “We must end the war,” the Indonesian president and G20 host, Widodo, told world leaders. “If the war does not end, it will be difficult for the world to move forward,” he said.

Meanwhile, Xi made no mention of Ukraine in his opening remarks. Instead, the Chinese leader leveled a somewhat veiled criticism of the United States – without mentioning it by name – for “drawing ideological lines” and “promoting group policies and confronting the block.”

Compared to China’s ambiguous position, observers have noted a more pronounced shift from India – and the greater role New Delhi is willing to play in getting all parties involved.

On Tuesday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on leaders to “find a way to get back on the track of ceasefire and diplomacy in Ukraine” in his opening remarks at the summit.

The draft joint declaration also includes the sentence: “Today’s age shall not be war.” The language echoes what Modi told Putin in September, on the sidelines of a regional summit in Uzbekistan.

said Happymon Jacob, associate professor of diplomacy and disarmament at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

And we see India distancing itself from Russia in a number of ways.

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