The G-20 summit in Bali concludes with a joint statement revealing continued disagreement over Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine – in language that does not disguise the deep disagreements over the bloodshed.
The final language of a statement was still emerging on Wednesday, as world leaders reacted to the missile that exploded in Poland near the Ukrainian border — prompting an emergency meeting of President Joe Biden and key NATO allies.
While Biden said experts were still investigating the missile explosion and its trajectory, it came amid yet another barrage of Russian missiles fired at civilian infrastructure targets in Ukraine — in a war that has disrupted the world’s food supply, immigration and global economies.
Finally, members of the Group of 20 Leading Economies stated that most of them strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and warned that the conflict exacerbates vulnerabilities in the global economy.
The closing statement emerged as Biden flew home promising to investigate the missile explosion in Poland.
The summit’s closing statement was notable for highlighting the war, given the divisions among the group, which includes not only Russia itself, but countries such as China and India that have significant trade ties with Moscow and have received no public criticism of the war.
The Russian war in Ukraine caused a deep rift between the nations gathered in Bali, Indonesia for the G20 summit. Leaders planted mangrove trees in an environmental gesture
Still, it acknowledged that “there were other opinions and assessments” and that the G-20 “is not the forum to resolve security issues.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin did not come to the summit, sending his foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, who on Tuesday accused the leaders of trying to “politicize” a joint statement. According to Russian state media, he flew off the plane on Tuesday evening.
The conflict loomed during the two-day summit on Indonesia’s tropical island of Bali.
News early in the day of an explosion that shook eastern Poland to its foundations prompted US President Joe Biden to hastily call an emergency meeting of 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 is investigating what happened. The NATO member did not blame Russia for the incident, which killed two people. Russia denied involvement.
US President Joe Biden, left, and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attend an emergency meeting of leaders at the G20 summit after a missile landed in Poland near the Ukrainian border
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attended a gala on Tuesday evening and then left the summit
Russia has destroyed civilian buildings and infrastructure in Ukraine
View of destroyed buildings in the village of Posad-Pokrovske, Kherson, Ukraine on November 15, 2022. The village where 5 million civilians lived before the Russo-Ukrainian war has been attacked by Russian troops for nine months
Twin explosions hit Przewodów, a rural village five miles from the Ukrainian border in southwest Poland. The aftermath of the explosions, which left two dead, is depicted
President Joe Biden boarded Air Force One on Wednesday for the long haul back to Washington, D.C., after a six-day, three-summit round-the-world trip that ended with the G20 meeting in Bali, Indonesia
Biden also met with new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on the last day of his overseas trip
Biden said it was “unlikely” that the missile had been fired from Russia, and pledged support for Poland’s investigation.
“There is preliminary information that disputes that,” Biden told reporters when asked if the missile had been fired from Russia. “Given the line of the runway, it’s unlikely 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 was not present.
The careful wording of the final statement reflected the tensions at the meeting and the challenge for the US and its allies to isolate Putin’s government. Several G-20 members, including host country Indonesia, fear becoming embroiled in disputes between larger powers.
Yet the statement was a strong rebuke of the war that has killed thousands, increased global security tensions and disrupted the global economy.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who led the Russian delegation to Indonesia instead of Putin, denounced pressure from the Biden administration to condemn Moscow in his remarks on 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, United Kingdom, United States and the European Union . Spain has a permanent host seat.
The emergency meeting early in the day saw the leaders of the G-7, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the European Union, along with the President of the European Council and NATO Prime Ministers allies Spain and the Netherlands.
Biden later had a separate meeting with Sunak, in their first extended conversation since taking office last month.
“We will continue to support Ukraine as long as Russia continues its aggression,” Biden said alongside Sunak, adding that he was “glad we are on the same wavelength” in supporting Ukraine.
On Tuesday, Russia pounded Ukrainian cities with dozens of rocket attacks in its largest barrage to date on the country’s energy facilities, which have been hit repeatedly as winter approaches.
Biden said leaders condemned the latest Russian attacks, which have caused widespread blackouts.
“As the world came together at the G-20 to push for de-escalation, Russia continues to escalate in Ukraine as we meet,” Biden said.