G20 Diplomats Fail to Reach Consensus on Ukraine War

Blinken shunned Lavrov at the summit as the US refuses to engage in diplomacy with Russia

The G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, on Friday failed to produce a joint statement as the group of the world’s leading economies and largest developing nations are divided on how to respond to the war in Ukraine.

Many G20 members have not followed the US-led sanctions campaign against Russia, including Indonesia, China, India, Brazil, and South Africa. The meeting opened with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi calling for the G20 nations to work together to end the war.

Marsudi said that the war in Ukraine was the focus of most meetings held on Friday, but she couldn’t point to any agreements reached by all participants on the issue, according to The Associated Press. She noted that only “some countries expressed condemnation of the act of invasion.”

The G20 summit put Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the same room for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. The Biden administration has abandoned diplomacy with Russia altogether, and Blinken refused to engage with Lavrov in Indonesia.

“You know, it was not us who abandoned all contacts,” Lavrov told reporters at the summit. “It was the United States. That’s all I can say. And we are not running after anybody suggesting meetings. If they don’t want to talk, it’s their choice.” Blinken hasn’t spoken with Lavrov since February 15.

Blinken and other Western diplomats at the summit delivered harsh criticism of Russia for launching its war in Ukraine. Lavrov said that the Western envoy’s discussion “strayed almost immediately, as soon as they took the floor, to the frenzied criticism of the Russian Federation in connection with the situation in Ukraine.”

The G20 summit came after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned on Thursday, prompting UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to leave Bali. The summit was also shaken by the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was gunned down as the meetings were underway.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.