Almost nine months after the start of its war against Ukraine, Russia is also coming under pressure in the G20 round of leading economic powers. At the summit on the Indonesian island of Bali, previous supporters such as China and India refrained from blocking a joint final declaration. The paper, which was almost completely negotiated on Tuesday, states: "Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine."
Moscow also wants to support the declaration - because it expressly emphasizes that not all G20 countries share the condemnation. The paper is to be adopted by the 20 delegations this Wednesday at the end of the summit.
So far, China's head of state Xi Jinping has supported Russian President Vladimir Putin almost unreservedly. The Kremlin chief was represented at the summit by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. He remained in the room during a video message from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Chancellor Scholz speaks to Lavrov
Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke briefly with the Russian Foreign Minister on the sidelines of the summit. "He stood near me and also said two sentences. That was the conversation," said Scholz after the first two working sessions. He doesn't want the wrong impression of the length of the exchange to arise. He was satisfied with the first results of the G20 meeting. "So far, despite the general conditions, which are depressing, a very successful summit."
Specifically, the draft of the final declaration quotes from a United Nations resolution. This calls on Russia to cease hostilities and immediately withdraw its troops from Ukraine.
It's war, not "military special operations"
Russia's position is primarily addressed with the sentence: "There were different views and different assessments of the situation." Accordingly, Russia also accepts that the Russian attack will be described as a war and not - as suggested by Putin - as a "military special operation".
Lavrov confirmed that the work is practically complete. "Our Western colleagues have tried in every possible way to politicize this statement and they have tried to smuggle in language that would imply condemnation of the actions of the Russian Federation on behalf of the entire G20, including ourselves," he said state Russian news agency Tass. The draft now contains both Western and Russian perspectives on the war in Ukraine.
The draft also states that, in the opinion of most G20 members, the war will exacerbate the problems in the global economy and, for example, weaken growth and cause inflation to rise. It did not list who the majority of G20 members are.
Russia also agrees that the final declaration states that not only the use of nuclear weapons, but also the threat to use them, is inadmissible. Most recently, the illegal annexation of four occupied Ukrainian territories had fueled concerns about a Russian use of nuclear weapons. Militarily, Russia has recently come under increasing pressure - Putin had to evacuate several important occupied cities.
China's head of state wants to cooperate
Xi Jinping called for unity in the G20 in the opening meeting. Confrontation should be replaced by cooperation. In view of the corona pandemic, for example, the global economy is becoming more vulnerable. The geopolitical environment remains tense. The crises of food and energy reinforced each other.
The Chinese head of state had intensive discussions with US President Joe Biden for around three hours on Monday before the start of the G20 summit in Bali. It was the first face-to-face meeting since Biden entered the White House about two years ago. Relations were recently described as icy.
While Beijing is taking a hard line, it is still trying to improve relations with the US and the EU in order to advance its own development.
Zelenskyj talks about plan for the end of the war
In his video address to the G20, the Ukrainian President emphasized that a possible end to the war would require the withdrawal of Russian troops and the restoration of his country's territorial integrity. "Effective security guarantees" are necessary for Ukraine, he said according to the manuscript.
Zelenskyi also called for an extension of the agreement on export of Ukrainian grain across the Black Sea, which was brokered by Turkey and the UN. The G20 supported the demand in the draft of their final declaration.
Summit host warns of division in the world
At the beginning of the summit, Indonesian President Joko Widodo warned of a new division in the world. "We must not allow ourselves to get caught up in a new Cold War."
In addition to the EU, Germany, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the USA are represented at the G20 summit.
India will take over the G20 presidency from Indonesia on December 1st.