Feb. 26 – Beijing refused to accept parts of a G20 statement deploring Russia’s aggression “in the strongest terms.”
Moscow said that “anti-Russian” Western countries had “destabilized” the G20.
It comes after China this week published a plan to end the conflict that some considered pro-Russian.
India, which hosted this week’s G20 talks in the southern city of Bangalore, issued a lengthy “chairman’s summary” of the meeting, noting there were “different assessments of the situation” in Ukraine and on the sanctions imposed on Russia.
A footnote said that two paragraphs summarizing the war were “agreed to by all member countries except Russia and China.” The paragraphs were adapted from the G20 Bali Leaders’ Statement in November and criticized “in the strongest terms the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine.”
After fading into the background since the invasion a year ago, Beijing has intensified its diplomatic efforts around the conflict in recent weeks. Its top diplomat, Wang Yi, toured Europe this week, culminating in a warm welcome from Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
China also this week released a 12-point plan to end the war in Ukraine, calling for peace talks and respect for national sovereignty. However, the 12-point document does not specifically say that Russia must withdraw its troops from Ukraine and does not condemn Russia’s invasion.
The Chinese document was well received by Russia, prompting US President Joe Biden to comment: “[President] Putin is applauding it, so how could it be good?”
After the G20 meeting, Ajay Seth, a senior Indian official, told a news conference that the Russian and Chinese representatives disagreed with the wording on Ukraine because “its mandate is to deal with economic and financial issues.”
“On the other hand, the other 18 countries felt that the war has implications for the global economy” and it was necessary to mention them, he added.
The 17-paragraph summary of the summit also made reference to the recent earthquake in Turkey, debt in low- and middle-income countries, global fiscal policy and food insecurity.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said it regretted the fact that “the activities of the G20 continue to be destabilized by the Western collective and used in an anti-Russian manner…”.
He accused the United States, the European Union and the G7 nations of “blatant blackmail,” urging them to “recognize the objective realities of a multipolar world.”
But German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said: “This is a war. And this war has a cause, it has a cause, and that is Russia and Vladimir Putin. That must be clearly expressed at this G20 finance meeting.”
Previous meetings of the G20 members have also failed to produce a joint statement since Russia invaded Ukraine last February.
On Thursday, the UN General Assembly in New York overwhelmingly supported a resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The motion was supported by 141 countries, 32 abstained and seven, including Russia, voted against.