G-20 Leaders End Meeting Condemning War But Note Divisions

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G-20 Leaders End Meeting Condemning War But Note Divisions

The careful wording of the final G-20 summit declaration reflected the challenge that the U.S. and its allies face in isolating Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

G-20 Leaders End Meeting Condemning War But Note Divisions

Delegates attend a session at the G-20 Leaders’ Summit, in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Wednesday Nov. 16, 2022.

Credit: Willy Kurniawan/Pool Photo via AP

Members of the Group of 20 leading economies ended their meeting Wednesday by declaring that most of them strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and warning that the conflict is intensifying fragilities in the world’s economy.

The summit’s closing declaration was noteworthy in highlighting the war given the divisions among the group, which includes not only Russia itself but also countries such as China and India that have significant trade ties with Moscow and have stopped short of outright criticism of the war.

Still, it acknowledged “there were other views and different assessments” and stated that the G-20 is “not the forum to resolve security issues.”

The conflict loomed large over the two-day summit held on the tropical island of Bali in Indonesia.

News early in the day of an explosion that rocked eastern Poland prompted U.S. President Joe Biden to hastily arrange an emergency meeting with G-7 and NATO members gathered at the summit.

Poland said the blast near the Ukrainian border was caused by a Russian-made missile and that it was investigating what happened. The NATO members stopped short of blaming Russia for the incident, which killed two people. Russia denied involvement.

Biden said it was “unlikely” that the missile was fired from Russia, and he pledged support for Poland’s investigation.

“There is preliminary information that contests that,” Biden told reporters when asked if the missile had been fired from Russia. “It is unlikely in the lines of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia, but we’ll see.”

Biden was joined at the G-20 by leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Russian President Vladimir Putin did not attend.

The careful wording of the final statement reflected tensions at the gathering and the challenge for the U.S. and its allies to isolate Putin’s government. Several G-20 members, including host Indonesia, are wary of becoming entangled in disputes between bigger powers. Still, the declaration was a strong rebuke of the war that has killed thousands, heightened global security tensions and disrupted the world economy.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who led the Russian delegation to Indonesia in place of Putin, denounced the Biden administration’s push to condemn Moscow in his remarks Tuesday.

The G-20 was founded in 1999 originally as a forum to address economic challenges. It includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. Spain holds a permanent guest seat.

The emergency meeting early in the day included the leaders of the G-7, which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the European Union, along with the president of the European Council and the prime ministers of NATO allies Spain and the Netherlands.

Biden held a separate meeting later with Sunak, in their first extended conversation since he took office last month.

“We’re going to continue to support Ukraine as long as Russia continues their aggression,” Biden said alongside Sunak, adding that he was “glad we’re on the same page” in backing Ukraine.

On Tuesday, Russia pounded Ukrainian cities with dozens of missile strikes in its biggest barrage yet on the country’s energy facilities, which have been repeatedly struck as winter approaches.

Biden said the leaders condemned the latest Russian attacks, which have caused widespread blackouts. “The moment when the world came together at the G-20 to urge de-escalation, Russia continues to escalate in Ukraine, while we’re meeting,” Biden said.

Associated Press writers Seung Min Kim, Zeke Miller and Niniek Karmini contributed to this report.