End Ukraine war, G20 tells Russia

The Ukraine war’s impact is being felt by other countries

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (AFP) — Russia faced mounting diplomatic pressure to end its war in Ukraine Tuesday, as G20 leaders meeting in Indonesia rued the high cost of the eight-month-old conflict.

In a draft communique, countries including Russia deplored the impact of “the war in Ukraine” — a conflict that “most members strongly condemned.”

The group is also expected to declare that “the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons” is “inadmissible,” a veiled rebuke of President Vladimir Putin who has repeatedly raised the specter of nuclear conflagration.

Putin was forced to skip the summit as he reckons with a string of embarrassing battlefield defeats and a grinding war that threatens the future of his regime.

“Being responsible means creating not zero-sum situations, being responsible here also means that we must end the war,” Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo said in his speech opening the summit in Bali.

Rubbing salt in his wounds, Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky — fresh from a visit to liberated Kherson — delivered an impassioned video appeal to G20 leaders.

Zelensky told leaders from China’s Xi Jinping to America’s Joe Biden that they could “save thousands of lives” by pressing for a Russian withdrawal.

“I am convinced now is the time when the Russian destructive war must and can be stopped,” he said, sporting his now-trademark army-green T-shirt.

Putin’s delegate, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, remained in his seat throughout Zelensky’s address, two diplomatic sources told AFP.

The veteran diplomat had preparations for the summit disrupted by two trips to a Bali hospital in as many days for an undisclosed ailment.

Food crisis

Russia and its G20 allies China, India and South Africa refrained from criticizing Putin’s war explicitly.

G20 members Argentina and Turkey are among the nations worst hit by food inflation worldwide, but there was scarcely a country around the table unaffected by high food and fuel prices.

“The war is affecting everyone” Argentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero said.

Ukraine is one of the world’s top grain producers, and the Russian invasion had blocked 20 million tons of grain in its ports before the United Nations and Turkey brokered the deal in July.

There was also a hint at growing Chinese unease with Russia’s prosecution of the war when presidents Xi and Biden met late Monday.

Both men voiced opposition to the “use or threat of use” of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, the White House said, although Beijing did not repeat that concern in public.

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