Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky speaks via video link at the G20 Summit in Indonesia Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky speaks via video link at the G20 Summit in Indonesia  (ANSA)

G20 tensions over war in Ukraine

Leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) plan to condemn the war in Ukraine, despite objections from Russia. A draft statement was leaked to the media at the G20 summit, which began Tuesday on Indonesia's resort island of Bali.

By Stefan J. Bos 

The G20, comprising 19 countries and the European Union, gathered at a time of mounting concerns about the global impact of the war in Ukraine. 

At the start of the two-day gathering, Britain's new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, condemned Russia's invasion of the former Soviet nation. “Well, this morning at the G20, we saw international condemnation of Russia’s war in Ukraine. And with Russia’s foreign minister sitting there, we highlighted both the illegality and barbaric nature of Russia’s war and also the devastating impact that it is having on people around the world through higher food and energy prices,” he told reporters afterward. 

“We have a responsibility to work with our G20 allies to fix the global economy, to grip in inflation but also to safeguard and preserve the international order, and that is what we are going to do,” Sunak stressed. 

Separately, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the G20 summit via video link to call for the war to end, which he explained would include the exchange of all prisoners of Europe’s most significant armed conflict since the Second World War.

He said: “We can not wait. Therefore we must unite for the sake of the only realistic model for the release of prisoners. All for all. I am convinced that now is the time when Russia's destructive war must, and can be, stopped." 

Peace talks? 

President Zelensky added that “Russia is trying to deprive Ukraine, Europe, and all energy consumers in the world of predictability and price stability; the answer to this should be a forced cap on Russian export prices."

The Ukrainian leader’s words potentially opened the door for a resumption of peace talks, although he earlier opposed negotiating directly with Russia's current President Vladimir Putin. 

Yet, the G20 apparently shares President Zelensky's concerns. A draft finalized statement leaked to the media says the war exacerbates fragilities in the global economy. 

However, Russia already attacked what it called the "politicization" of the declaration. 

The G20 meeting was also due to take steps to improve world food security affected by the war. 

Ukraine is a vital breadbasket of the world due to its massive grain exports. 

Listen to Stefan Bos' report

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15 November 2022, 16:51