Blinken: The Russian war in Ukraine overshadows the G20 meeting


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had upset the meeting of foreign ministers of the Group of 20 nations in India, while calling on the group to urge Russia to withdraw its forces.

The war has been a major sticking point in meetings of the Group of Twenty, which groups the world’s largest economies including the United States and Russia, since Moscow launched its all-out invasion of its neighbor on February 24, 2022.

“Unfortunately, once again Russia’s unjustified war in Ukraine, its deliberate destructive campaign against civilian targets, and its attack on the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter overshadow this meeting,” Blinken told the group’s foreign ministers, according to prepared statements that were briefed to the journalists after the US secretary delivered them Thursday morning.

India, which is hosting the G20 meetings this year, has refused to blame Russia for the war, is seeking a diplomatic solution and is sharply increasing its purchases of Russian oil.

Blinken said the G20 should reiterate the calls, which most G20 leaders agreed to in Bali in November, for Russia to end the war and withdraw for the sake of international peace and economic stability.

“Even while mobilizing support for Ukraine, we are focused on global challenges… This’s what the world needs and expects”.

India has sought to avoid having its presidency dominated by the war in Ukraine, and has called for a focus on food, energy and fertilizer security, which particularly affects less affluent countries.

Blinken said Russia has not yet agreed to renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which facilitates the export of Ukrainian agricultural products, before it expires on March 18.

“It is imperative that the G20 speak out in order to expand the Black Sea Grain Initiative to enhance food security for the most vulnerable,” Blinken added.

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