By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
NUSA DUA, INDONESIA (Worthy News) – The Group of 20 (G20) unanimously adopted a declaration effectively condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but not all countries agreed on who was responsible for Europe’s largest armed conflict since World War Two.
“Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine,” the leaders said in their declaration, signaling that Russia, a member of G20, opposed the wording.
“It is essential to uphold international law and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability. This includes defending all the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and adhering to international humanitarian law,” the G20 statement said.
The declaration came after Western leaders concluded that a missile strike at a grain facility in Poland that killed two people was likely a stray fired by Ukraine’s air defense system, despite Kyiv blaming Moscow.
Views from Russia’s allies China and India were unclear, though Chinese state media published the translated version of the declaration.
In a further sign of friction, Ukraine’s President addresses the summit via video link as “G19,” clearly not recognizing Russia as a member.
RUSSIA POUNDS UKRAINE
Russia, whose forces pounded cities and energy facilities across Ukraine on Tuesday as the G20 met, condemned the “politicization” of the summit.
“Yes, there is a war going on in Ukraine, a hybrid war that the West has unleashed and been preparing for years,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov argued on Tuesday. He repeated Russian President Vladimir Putin’s opinion that the ongoing expansion by the U.S.-led NATO military alliance had threatened Russia.
Lavrov was representing Putin at the summit but left on Tuesday evening. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov later represented Russia.
The president of host Indonesia, Joko Widodo, said the Ukraine war had been the most contentious issue. “The discussion on this was very, very tough, and by the end, the G20 leaders agreed on the content of the declaration, which was the condemnation of the war in Ukraine because it has violated country borders and integrity,” he said.
However, the war overshadowed the two-day talks, irritating Indonesia, which had hoped
the G20 summit on its tropical island of Bali would focus on climate change as well as global food and energy security.
Yet, there was still a brief moment when the G20 leaders dressed in white shirts, some with baseball caps with the G20 logo, participated in a ceremony to plant mangrove saplings.
The ceremony was meant to signal their battle against what they view as dangerous climate change.
G20 leaders also agreed to pursue efforts “to limit the rise in global temperatures” to 1.5 Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit), including speeding up efforts to phase down the use of coal.
Critics have questioned the role of humans in the reported climate change, but G20 leaders in official declarations did not mention those views.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, in talks on the eve of the summit on Monday, agreed to “resume cooperation” on “climate change.”
They and other leaders of the world’s biggest economies also want to coordinate, or “pace,” interest rate rises to avoid spillovers warning of “increased volatility” in currency moves.
The G20 said the world economy faces “unparalleled multidimensional crises” from the war in Ukraine to a surge in inflation, forcing many central banks to tighten monetary policy.
World Trade Organization Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said major economies faced a real risk of sliding into recession as the war in Ukraine, rising food and fuel costs, and soaring inflation cloud the global outlook.
On the sidelines of the summit, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen held a two-hour meeting with Chinese central bank Governor Yi Gang, her first in-person talks with a senior Chinese economic official.
She had said before the meeting she hoped to get new insight into China’s policy plans and work towards more economic engagement between the two countries.
Ironically, observers noticed that China’s President Xi played a significant role in the summit of 19 countries and the European Union. In contrast, Putin appeared increasingly isolated, sending his foreign minister Lavrov, to act as a diplomatic punchbag.
Lavrov arrived after several days of massive setbacks on the battlefield in Ukraine, including Russia’s forced withdrawal from the strategic city of Kherson. But the ongoing Russian missile strikes appeared to suggest that the war is far from over despite international efforts to resume peace talks.
The G20 summit held in the world’s largest Muslim nation failed to end the armed conflict and related human suffering.