Russia strives to avoid G20 isolation as China and India distance themselves
Leaders of the world’s largest economies appeared ready Tuesday to convey a strong message from most condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pressed the group to maintain pressure on Moscow over its nine-month war that has devastated Ukraine and roiled the global economy.
Russia has been battling to prevent diplomatic isolation at the G20 summit in Bali as its traditional allies – China and India – started to distance themselves from the war in Ukraine, which a draft communique said had caused untold economic damage to the world.
Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, and Xi Jinping, the president of China, both voiced concern about the war without breaking from their previous defence of Moscow.
US officials were still pushing for the final communique to pin more blame on Russia. The draft includes language noting “most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine” and stresses that “it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy”.
The summit’s host, Indonesia, has been trying to keep references to the war to a minimum, arguing the G20 is not a security forum and that reiteration of well known positions will prevent progress on issues such as global debt and post-pandemic recovery.
The summit being held on the Indonesian island of Bali marks the first time the G20 leaders have met since Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow has described as a “special military operation”. The war and worries over global inflation, food and energy security have overshadowed the meeting.
In his address, Xi warned against the “weaponisation” of food and energy, adding that he opposed nuclear war in all circumstances, remarks that cast a shadow over Russia’s repeated threats to use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
“We must firmly oppose politicisation, instrumentalisation and weaponisation of food and energy problems,” Xi said.
Modi said it was necessary to recognise the UN had failed as a multilateral institution, putting greater pressure on the G20 to find solutions. He said it was time for a ceasefire and for diplomacy to come to the fore.
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