The G-20 strongly condemns the war in Ukraine

It has long been speculated whether the G-20 will agree on a final declaration for the Bali summit. She did it. The document presented on Wednesday is a strong slap in the face for Russia.

Planting mangroves on the sidelines of the G-20 summit: US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Irham grease / EPA

There is a clear message from the G-20 summit on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali: Russia is isolated in a group of 19 of the world’s most important countries plus the EU. The final declaration, adopted by all participants, said “the majority of members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine, stressing that it is causing immeasurable human suffering and exacerbating existing vulnerabilities in the global economy.” The document describes Russia’s aggression in Ukraine as a war and not a “special military operation” as Moscow has done. Threats and the use of nuclear weapons are also considered unacceptable.

“Many members” is not enough

The final declaration, which negotiators had been working on for months, initially said “many members” condemned the war. On Monday evening, a proposal by Indian diplomats to replace “many members” with “majority members” was said to have been accepted without discussion.

In the end, under pressure from developing countries and host country Indonesia, Russia refrained from distancing itself from the phrase “majority members” in a footnote. In the final declaration, a bridge was also built for China by not condemning Russia as a country, but actions in Ukraine. Beijing insisted on this subtlety.

The amended wording was not voted on in the round. It is therefore not clear what is meant by the term “majority of members”. It leaves room for interpretation: have countries like China and India finally sided with Russia?

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz shed some light on the matter in front of the media on Tuesday. He thus alluded to the vote of the UN General Assembly on March 2, 2022, in which the Russian invasion of Ukraine was strongly condemned. At that time, China, India and South Africa abstained from the group of 20 countries. After many negotiations with these countries, which then held back, Scholz concluded: “They are internally convinced that this is an unjust war.”

Lone Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Reports from participants show how isolated Russia was in the group. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is said to have reacted with little sovereignty and confused attacks after a video-linked speech by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He then left the room and did not return, as was rumored in negotiating circles. Lavrov represented Russian President Vladimir Putin, who likely wanted to avoid the public humiliation of being isolated in the group.

Isolated but adamant: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who traveled to Bali on behalf of Vladimir Putin.

Isolated but adamant: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who traveled to Bali on behalf of Vladimir Putin.

Willy Kurniawan/Reuters

His statements during a media conference, to which only a few journalists were invited, show the loss of reality that Lavrov suffers from. He accused Ukraine of needlessly prolonging the war. Moreover, the government in Kyiv refuses negotiations with Russia and sets unrealistic conditions, Lavrov emphasized. In his video message to the G-20 heads of government and states, Zelenskyy demanded the withdrawal of all Russian troops and the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

“The EU suffers from bipolar disorder”

Lavrov particularly sharply attacked Western countries, which tried by all means to politicize the final statement of the G-20. He accused the EU of “bipolar disorders” because they talked about peace and at the same time wanted to train 15,000 Ukrainians.

With such formulations, however, the Russian foreign minister misjudged the situation. In addition to the EU and the United States, concerns about the consequences of the war are also growing in developing countries: heads of state and government are managing the negative effects of the Russian invasion on inflation and growth, supply disruptions and food security and financial stability.

The statement also said it was aware that the G-20 was not a forum to address security issues. However, it is recognized that they can have a significant impact on the global economy. The Group of Twenty has been an informal platform for international economic cooperation since the Pittsburgh Summit in 2009.

And the group in Bali accomplished the task: The sentence “We are deeply concerned about the challenges to global food security that are exacerbated by current conflicts and tensions” is the basic statement in the document, which contains 52 paragraphs.

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