G20 final communique sees “most members” condemn war in Ukraine

The 20-nation group unanimously adopted a declaration on Wednesday saying most members condemn the war in Ukraine, but the document concluding their summit acknowledged that some countries saw the conflict differently.

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The leaders of the world’s biggest economies also agreed to pace rate hikes carefully to avoid spillovers and warned of “increased volatility” in currency movements.

But it was the Ukraine conflict, which began with a Russian invasion in February, that dominated the two-day summit on the Indonesian island of Bali.

As a G20 member, Russia was among the participants, although President Vladimir Putin did not go himself.

“Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine,” said the leaders of their declaration.

The declaration acknowledged that “there were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions,” signaling Russia’s rejection of a unanimous condemnation.

The G20 leaders also said in the declaration that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons was “impermissible”, alluding to what Western officials have called irresponsible

Russian threats of a possible nuclear option since the Ukraine war began. Russia, in turn, has accused the West of “provocative” nuclear rhetoric.

“It is important to uphold international law and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability,” the declaration added.

The president of host Indonesia, Joko Widodo, said the war in Ukraine had been the most contentious issue.

“The discussion on this was very, very tough and in 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 national borders and integrity,” he said.

Russia, whose forces struck cities and energy facilities across Ukraine on Tuesday as the G20 gathered, had previously said the “politicization” of the summit was unfair.

The declaration – which the Kremlin posted on its website with a link to the English version – also said it recognized that the G20 was not the forum to resolve security issues.

French President Emmanuel Macron said G20 leaders also agreed to push Russia toward de-escalation in Ukraine and expressed hope that China could play a greater mediating role in the coming months.

Urgent meeting

Earlier today’s schedule at the summit was disrupted by an emergency meeting to discuss reports on Tuesday of a missile landing on Polish territory near Ukraine, killing two people.

US President Joe Biden said the US and its NATO allies were investigating the blast but early information suggested it could not have been caused by a missile fired from Russia.

NATO and Poland said the missile was most likely a deviation from a Ukrainian air defense system activated to shoot down Russian missiles.

Taking a break from negotiations, the G20 leaders donned white shirts, some with baseball caps emblazoned with the G20 logo, and engaged in a ceremony to plant mangrove saplings to signal the fight against climate change.

They agreed to continue efforts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5C, including accelerating efforts to phase out unabated use of coal.

Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed in talks ahead of Monday’s summit to resume cooperation on climate change.

On the sidelines of the summit, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met with Chinese central bank governor Yi Gang, her first face-to-face conversation with a senior Chinese economic official.

She had said before the meeting that she hoped to gain new insight into China’s political plans and work for more economic engagement between the world’s two largest economies.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told Reuters that several major economies faced a real risk of slipping into recession as the war in Ukraine, rising food and fuel costs and soaring inflation cloud the global outlook.

“Calibrate Tightening”

But it was the Western-led effort to condemn Russia over its invasion of Ukraine that took center stage in the talks.

Many attendees said Putin’s invasion of Ukraine had hammered the global economy and revived Cold War-era geopolitical divisions just as the world was recovering from the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday reiterated Putin’s line that NATO expansion had threatened Russia.

“Yes, there is a war going on in Ukraine, a hybrid war that the West has unleashed and prepared for years,” he said.

Lavrov represented Putin at the summit but left on Tuesday evening. Russia was later represented by Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.

Russia spoke in favor of extending the Black Sea grain deal at the summit as long as more grain was sent to countries in greatest need, Siluanov told Russia’s state news channel RT.

The 19 countries of the G20 together with the EU account for more than 80% of the world’s gross domestic product, 75% of international trade and 60% of the population.

In their statement, the leaders said the world economy was facing “unprecedented multidimensional crises”, ranging from the war in Ukraine to a rise in inflation, forcing many central banks to tighten monetary policy.

As well as agreeing to calibrate tightening, G20 leaders reaffirmed their commitment to avoid excessive exchange rate volatility while recognizing that “many currencies have moved significantly” this year.

On debt, they expressed concern about the “deteriorating” situation in some middle-income countries and stressed the importance of all creditors sharing a fair burden.


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