NEW DELHI — A deepening rift between Western countries and Russia over the Ukraine war has prevented a consensus from emerging at a meeting of foreign ministers of the Group of 20 countries, as both sides blamed each other for the crisis.
An outcome statement issued by India at the end of the meeting on Thursday said that “most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy.”
India’s foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, said the meeting in New Delhi had been unable to firm up a joint declaration owing to “very polarized views” over the war in Ukraine.
“On the issue, which very frankly concerned the Ukraine conflict, there were divergences, there were differences, which we couldn’t reconcile between various parties,” Jaishankar told reporters. “We tried, but the gap between the countries was too much.”
Amid soaring tensions over the Ukraine war, the U.S. and its Western allies underlined the need for member countries to maintain pressure on Russia to end the conflict and respond firmly to its aggression, while Moscow blamed the West for the global political and economic crises.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the G-20 meeting was marred by Russia’s “unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine and deliberate campaign of destruction against civilian targets.” He said that “we must continue to call on Russia to end its war of aggression for the sake of international peace and economic stability.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Western delegations “turned the work on the G-20 agenda into a farce, wanting to shift the responsibility for their failures in the economy to the Russian Federation.” He accused the West of “burying” a deal to allow some Ukrainian grain exports.
Blinken also met with his Russian counterpart Lavrov briefly on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting, where he underscored Washington is prepared to support Ukraine in defending itself for as long as it takes, according to a U.S. State Department official.
The first one-on-one meeting in person between the top American and Russian diplomats since the Ukraine invasion lasted less than 10 minutes.
Blinken also called on Russia to reverse its decision to suspend participation in the New Start nuclear arms treaty and to release detained U.S. citizen Paul Whelan.
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