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Wrangling over Ukraine war dominates summit of G20 major economies

Economic Indicators Nov 15, 2022 11:18AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An officer stands guard ahead of the G20 summit in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, November 13, 2022. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana

By Fransiska Nangoy and Vladimir Soldatkin

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) -A Western-led push to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine dominated Tuesday's Group of 20 (G20) summit on the Indonesian island of Bali where leaders of major economies grappled with a dizzying array of issues from hunger to nuclear threats.

President Vladimir Putin's Feb. 24 invasion of neighbouring Ukraine has pummelled the global economy and revived Cold War-era geopolitical divisions just as the world was emerging from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As at other recent international forums, the United States and its allies were seeking a statement from the two-day G20 summit against Moscow's military actions.

But Russia, whose forces pounded cities and energy facilities across Ukraine even as the G20 met, said "politicization" of the summit was unfair.

"Yes, there is a war going on in Ukraine, a hybrid war that the West has unleashed and been preparing for years," said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, repeating Putin's line that military alliance NATO's expansion had threatened Russia.

A 16-page draft declaration seen by Reuters, which diplomats said was yet to be adopted by leaders, acknowledged the rift.

"Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy," it said.

"There were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions."

The 20 nations account for more than 80% of the world's gross domestic product, 75% of international trade and 60% of its population.


Hosts Indonesia pleaded for unity and a focus on problems like inflation, hunger and high energy prices, all exacerbated by the war.

"We have no other option, collaboration is needed to save the world," said Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

"G20 must be the catalyst for inclusive economic recovery. We should not divide the world into parts. We must not allow the world to fall into another Cold War."

The draft summit document also said G20 central banks would calibrate monetary tightening with an eye on the global inflation problem, while fiscal stimulus should be "temporary and targeted" to help the vulnerable while not hiking prices.

On debt, it voiced concern about the "deteriorating" situation of some middle-income countries and stressed the importance of all creditors sharing a fair burden.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the summit in a virtual address that it was time to implement a 10-point peace plan he has proposed. Kyiv is demanding a full Russian withdrawal from occupied territories.

Zelenskiy called for restoring "radiation safety" at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, price restrictions on Russian energy resources, and an expanded grain export initiative.

A U.S. official said Washington wanted a clear G20 message against Russia's invasion and its impact on the global economy, while German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said there were encouraging signs of consensus that the war was unacceptable.

Lavrov said he listened to Zelenskiy's address. He accused him of prolonging the conflict and ignoring Western advice.

Russia has said Putin was too busy to attend the summit.


There was an encouraging sign on the eve of the summit, however, when U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, whose nations have been increasingly estranged, met and pledged more frequent communication.

Both men stated their opposition to the use of nuclear weapons, according to readouts from both sides.

Russia has said it reserves the right to use any means including nuclear capability to defend its security.

China and Russia are close, but Beijing has been careful not to provide any direct material support for the Ukraine war that could trigger Western sanctions against it.

Xi told French President Emmanuel Macron during another bilateral meeting that Beijing advocated a ceasefire in Ukraine and peace talks, Chinese state media reported.

Civil society groups blasted the G20 draft declaration for failing to take action on hunger, not strengthening efforts to fund development, and losing sight of an earlier commitment to provide $100 billion in climate financing by 2023.

"The G20 is merely repeating old commitments from previous years or noting developments elsewhere, rather than taking on leadership themselves," said Friederike Roder of the group Global Citizen. "Fifty million people are at the brink of starvation as we speak. There is no time for the G20 to issue calls to action - they are the ones who have to act."

Leaders mingled at a gala dinner on Tuesday evening, many wearing traditional Indonesian batik shirts. Host Widodo quipped that he hoped the food was not too spicy for foreigners.

Biden, however, missed the meal. "It's been a long day and he has other matters he needed to attend to," a White House official said.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed concern for the health of other world leaders - including Biden - after a positive COVID-19 test forced him to return home early.

Wrangling over Ukraine war dominates summit of G20 major economies

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Comments (3)
Gold Member
getoverit Nov 15, 2022 9:03AM ET
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Most of the people on Earth won't be able to point Ukraine on the map. Why on Earth we should worry about them when our countries are in ruins?
Dennis Chuck
Dennis Chuck Nov 15, 2022 1:14AM ET
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1) why should Asians adopt how the west run their own countries. The west can preach whatever democracy, liberal, human rights (mostly are full of shet) they want, it does not mean the rest of the world need to accept their imperialism. Every country has their own system n culture, it is how it is! Let me remind the west there will be lots of worms crawling out from your cans if open! Dont ever think you are a role model! Either you accept others way of doing things or FO. 2) DON'T talk about climate change WHEN what the world is experiencing right now are due to western nations being the biggest carbon contrubutor 100 yrs ago! You think the current climate disasters are created overnight?? Dont blame the rest of the world when you are the main culprits!
Dominic Mazoch
Dominic Mazoch Nov 15, 2022 1:06AM ET
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OK, to reduce CO2 footprint, do the meeting on Zoom or Teams.
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