G20 meets in India under shadow of war

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

STORY: Finance minsters from around the G20 met Friday (February 24) in India under the shadow of war.

The conflict in Ukraine - which marked one year the same day - is likely to dominate the two-day gathering.

But Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi avoided any direct mention of the subject in his opening remarks.

"I would urge that your discussions should focus on the most vulnerable citizens of the world.”

Modi wants the event to focus on tackling unsustainable debt in developing nations.

He’s likely to be disappointed though.

Other countries wasted no time turning the focus back to Ukraine.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen accused Russian officials attending the event of being “complicit” in war crimes.

She called on G20 nations to redouble their support for Ukraine, and to step up measures against Russia.

"We will stand with Ukraine in its fight for as long as it takes".

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said the group couldn’t duck the issue:

"The G20 has to condemn the aggression of Russia against Ukraine. The G20 did it at the level of the leaders, the G20 must do it on the same way with the same statements at the level of the finance ministers.”

Le Maire said Europe was looking into new sanctions against Russia, and denied Moscow’s claims that current measures have proved ineffective.

India does not want the meeting to discuss new sanctions, and is pressing to avoid use of the word “war” in a final communique.

New Delhi has maintained a neutral stance on the conflict, while vastly increasing its purchases of Russian oil.

The economic backdrop to the meeting has at least improved though.

Since the group’s last summit in October, global recession fears have eased, which Yellen said was partly down to tough action on inflation by G20 members.