Russia on Sunday deemed the G20 Summit in India’s capital New Delhi an “unconditional success,” a day after the meeting’s final declaration stopped short of explicitly condemning its invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking at a press conference at the end of the summit, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the summit was a success not just for India but “for all of us.”
The final group statement said “all states must refrain from the threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition” without singling out Russia.
In a reflection of the deep fractures among the G20 nations, the statement acknowledged “there were different views and assessments of the situation.”
Diplomats had been working furiously to draft a final joint statement in the lead-up to the summit but hit snags on language to describe the Ukraine war.
The eventual compromise statement amounted to a coup for the summit’s host, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but still reflected a position far softer those the United States and its Western allies have adopted individually.
Ukraine criticized the G20’s final declaration, with Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko writing on Facebook: “Ukraine is grateful to its partners who tried to include strong wording in the text.
“At the same time, the G20 has nothing to be proud of in the part about Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Obviously, the participation of the Ukrainian side would have allowed the participants to better understand the situation. The principle of ‘nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine’ remains as key as ever.”
Meanwhile U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken insisted that despite weaker language than last year, the joint statement on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “speaks loudly.”
“If you’re in the Russian seat, it’s pretty clear where the rest of the world stands,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Also in his statement on Sunday, speaking on the conflict in Ukraine, Lavrov said it was because of the BRICS partners at the Summit (Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa) and a “consolidated position of the Global South in defence of its legitimate interests” that it was possible “to prevent the success of the West’s attempt to again ‘Ukrain-ize’ the entire agenda to the detriment of discussing the urgent problems of developing countries.”
Referring to the G20 Leaders’ Declaration, he said it was “significant that they call it the Ukrainian paragraph, it is included and is the subject of consensus, but it is not about Ukraine…Yes, the Ukrainian crisis is mentioned but exclusively in the context of the need to resolve all conflicts that exist in the world,” he continued.
“This is very important, because the West, as you know, as soon as it comes to Ukraine cannot enter into intellectual discussions, but only demands an end to Russian aggression and the restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” said Lavrov.
Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said Russia would block the final declaration of the G20 summit unless it reflects Moscow’s position on Ukraine and other crises.
“There will be no general declaration on behalf of all members if our position is not reflected,” Lavrov told students at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations on September 1.
The summit had some high-profile absentees, with both Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin staying away. The meeting also saw the African Union being formally admitted to the G20.