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Saturday, November 26, 2022

G-20 will continue to be firm with Russia and seek an end to the Ukraine conflict

The majority of the world’s economic powers are close to approving a statement forcefully condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has destabilized the global economy. Even China, which has mostly refrained from criticizing Russia until recently, and India, which purchases weaponry from Russia, are offering words of encouragement.

Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy demanded a strong denunciation of Russia’s nuclear threats and food embargoes from other world leaders.

On Wednesday, there will be more debate and a potential vote at the summit, which has been extremely dramatic, including a COVID-19 scare when Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen tested positive and returned home. Other leaders were not reported as being favorable.

A draft proclamation by the Group of 20’s leaders follows the United Nations’ condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while noting divergent opinions among its members.

The statement’s cautious language underscores the tensions existing during the meeting, which included officials from Russia and China, as well as the difficulty confronting the United States and its allies in isolating the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Some countries desperately desire to avoid being engaged in conflicts between the world’s largest powers.

Nevertheless, if ratified in its present form, the proclamation would be a forceful rebuke of the war that has killed thousands, exacerbated global security concerns, and damaged the global economy. This would be a particularly noteworthy action, given that China and India refrained from criticizing Russia’s actions in the March United Nations resolution.

The draft statement viewed by The Associated Press on Tuesday “strongly condemns the assault by the Russian Federation” and “demands that the Russian Federation withdraw completely and unconditionally from the territory of Ukraine.” The G-20 statement acknowledges that there are differing perspectives on the situation and sanctions on Russia, stating that the G-20 is not the appropriate platform for addressing security matters.

Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser, condemned Russia’s recent attacks in Ukraine.

“It is not lost on us that, as global leaders gather for the G-20 summit in Bali to discuss matters of essential significance to the lives and livelihoods of people throughout the globe, Russia once again threatens these lives and damages Ukraine’s key infrastructure,” he said in a statement.

In stead of Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov headed the Russian mission to Indonesia and blasted the Biden administration’s efforts to demonize Moscow.

Lavrov said, “All the issues are on the Ukrainian side, which simply refuses to have any discussions and proposes criteria that are manifestly impossible and insufficient to the situation.”

In the last two years, the pandemic of COVID-19 has been a significant issue for the world economy. Even though no instances were recorded during the summit, several of the leaders had met with the Cambodian prime minister only days before at a separate summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Cambodia.

Biden missed a gala given by Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Tuesday evening in order to attend to unidentified business. According to a White House official, Biden extended his condolences to Widodo and said that he would attend a tree-planting event with other G-20 leaders on Wednesday. The unnamed person, who was not allowed to speak and spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the president had a “busy day” but emphasized that Biden’s absence was unrelated to COVID-19.

Back at the G-20’s main meeting, Zelenskyy gave a video message urging the gathering to further isolate Russia politically and economically, despite the fact that financial concerns have challenged the commitment of many states.

Inflation and faltering economies are already burdening nations who have placed sanctions on Russia for initiating the conflict. As most of Europe prepares to endure the next winter without Russian natural gas supplies, increased energy and food prices have hampered global economic activity.

If the conflict does not cease, it would be impossible for the world to go ahead, said Indonesia’s Widodo.

Zelenskyy reaffirmed ten prerequisites for ending the war that started in February, including the total departure of Russian forces and the complete restoration of Ukrainian authority over its territory. He spoke days after Ukrainian troops recaptured the crucial city of Kherson from Russian forces as part of his nation’s most recent counteroffensive, which has pushed Moscow to evacuate some soldiers from seized territories.

“Ukraine should not be asked to sign away its conscience, sovereignty, territory, or independence,” he stated. “The world has seen Ukraine’s leadership in peacekeeping operations throughout its history. And if Russia claims it wants to stop the conflict, it should show it with action.”

At the meeting, Vice President Biden spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who played a major role this summer in brokering an agreement to expand Ukrainian grain exports in an effort to alleviate global food shortages. Biden also spoke briefly with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose cooperation is required to win a U.S.-requested price ceiling on Russian oil to limit the revenues Moscow uses to fund its military installation.

Modi, whose nation will succeed Indonesia as G-20 president, underlined his appeal for “the route of truce and diplomacy” in the Ukraine conflict and discussed the efforts of international leaders during World War II to seek a “way to peace.”

Separately, on Tuesday, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres met with Lavrov for a long discussion of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, according to U.N. spokesman Florencia Soto Nio. On Saturday, the agreement that permitted the major grain exporter Ukraine to begin shipments from ports that had been shut due to the conflict will expire.

The United States and its allies have reacted to Russia’s incursion with export limits and other penalties, making it more difficult for Russia’s military to get crucial technology and resupply with drones, artillery, and other weapons.

In general, Chinese authorities have abstained from public criticism of Russia’s conflict, but Beijing has eschewed outright backing of the Russians, such as weapons supply. Biden stated that during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday, they discussed the war and “reaffirmed our shared belief” that the use or threat of nuclear weapons was “totally unacceptable” — a reference to Russia’s thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons as its invasion of Ukraine falters.

Xi warned the leaders of the G-20 that the global economy should not be armed.

“We must vigorously fight any effort to politicize or weaponize food and energy concerns,” he stated in translated comments.

After meeting with Xi, French President Emmanuel Macron said that they had demanded respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Macron said in a tweet that France and China were resolved to “stop the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine and deal with its repercussions.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni are Biden’s first two crucial new allies at the meeting.

Sunak, who assumed office a month ago, pledged to maintain his conservative predecessors’ unwavering support for Ukraine. During their Wednesday discussion, he and Biden were expected to devise new measures to reinforce Ukraine’s defenses for the long run.

Meloni has committed to continue providing guns and supplies to Ukraine, but her far-right coalition’s will to stand up to Russia remains in doubt. According to a White House statement, they met Tuesday on the margins of the summit to address China, the climate problem, the effect of Russia’s invasion on the global energy market, and their commitment to giving assistance to Ukraine.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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