G20 summit statement doesn’t criticize Russia for Ukraine war

The closing statement of this year’s G-20 summit doesn’t condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, instead including a generic request for nations to respect each other’s borders.

The statement, released Saturday on the eve of the summit’s conclusion, is a carefully crafted and thoroughly negotiated piece of diplomacy usually agreed to by every G-20 member.

“We call on all states to uphold the principles of international law including territorial integrity and sovereignty, international humanitarian law, and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability,” the declaration reads.

“[We] welcome all relevant and constructive initiatives that support a comprehensive, just, and durable peace in Ukraine,” it continued. “The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.”

Last year’s G-20 summit in Bali resulted in a joint statement that harshly denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Russian delegation to the summit criticized that effort.

“Our Western colleagues tried in every way to make that declaration politicized and tried to push through language that implied condemning the actions of the Russian Federation on behalf of the entire G20, which includes us,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said last year. “But let’s do this in a fair way and let’s make it clear that, on this topic, we have differences.”

The 2023 statement chooses instead to not overtly go against Russia. That choice has already garnered criticism from the Ukrainian government, which has been fighting against an invasion since last February. The country’s foreign ministry called it “nothing to be proud of,” Reuters reported.

Razom We Stand, a Ukrainian advocacy group focused on anti-Russian energy policy, said the statement is “cowardly” and “completely fails to address the responsibility the G20 should have to stop Russia and its geopolitical weapons.”

The G-20 declaration did call on Russia to re-implement the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a deal which allowed Ukraine to export grain to bolster global food supplies and its economy. Russia pulled out of the initiative in July.

China, Russia’s largest ally, did support the final statement, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said.

“Differing viewpoints and interests were at play, but we were able to find common ground on all issues,” he said at a press conference.

In his opening statement at the New Delhi, India, conference, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the African Union will be the group’s 21st permanent member.

India also announced a new global biofuels initiative as well as the facilitation of an Indian-Middle East economic corridor based around extensive rail infrastructure, both with U.S. backing.

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