G20 Leaders managed to agree on a joint statement laying out shared views on climate change and economic development, but showed the fractures within the group by stopping short of explicitly condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The annual summit taking place in New Delhi omitted any condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or its brutal conduct of the war, instead lamenting the “suffering” of the Ukrainian people.
Diplomats had been working furiously to draft a final joint statement in the lead-up to the summit but hit snags on language to describe the Ukraine war.
It was an eye opening departure from a similar document agreed to less than a year ago in Bali, when leaders acknowledged different views over the invasion but still issued a strong condemnation of the Russian invasion and called on Moscow to withdraw its troops.
This year, amid low expectations that the divided group would reach any sort of consensus on Ukraine, the declaration pointed to past United Nations resolutions condemning the war and noted the “adverse impact of wars and conflicts around the world”. The statement also called on Russia to allow the export of grain and fertiliser from Ukraine and “to support a comprehensive, just and durable peace”.
The eventual compromise statement amounted to a text with rather “harsher” wording than the summit’s host, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted, but still reflected a position far softer than those the United States and its Western allies have adopted individually.
At the same time Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky noted that the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin – the Russian leader of PMC Wagner whose plane crashed just weeks after he led a mutiny against Moscow’s military leadership – shows what happens when people make deals with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
As Kyiv’s counteroffensive has entered its fourth month, with only modest gains to show, Zelensky told CNN he rejects any suggestions on the topic of negotiation with the Kremlin.
“When you want to have a compromise or a dialogue with somebody, you cannot do it with a liar,” Volodymyr Zelensky said.