Ukraine slams G20 declaration saying it's 'nothing to be proud of'
10th September 2023

Ukraine slams G20 declaration saying it’s ‘nothing to be proud of’ after Biden and other leaders sign on to document that doesn’t call Russia an aggressor in the war but bans nukes

  • A top Ukrainian official called the G20’s joint statement that addresses the Ukraine war ‘nothing to be proud of’ 
  • Oleg Nikolenko, a spokesman at the Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry, posted edits of the statement, which doesn’t called out Russia as an aggressor 
  • It was signed onto by President Joe Biden and other G20 leaders and does ban the use of nukes in the conflict  

Ukraine called the joint declaration that came out of the G20 Leaders’ Summit this weekend ‘nothing to be proud of,’ after the document failed to label Russia as an aggressor in the war, but banned the use of nukes. 

The G20 leaders, including President Joe Biden and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, standing in for Russian President Vladimir Putin, were gathered in New Delhi for the annual meeting. 

Host Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pushed for there to be a joint communique produced at the meeting, after last year’s G20 Leaders’ Summit in Bali concluded without one due to there being a lack of consensus on the Russian invasion. 

But by Saturday afternoon verbiage had been agreed upon – wording that one of Ukraine’s top officials felt was lacking. 

‘Ukraine is grateful to the partners who tried to include strong wording in the text. At the same time, in terms of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the Group of 20 has nothing to be proud of,’ Oleg Nikolenko, a spokesman at the Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry, posted to his account on X, the site formerly known as Twitter. 

Nikolenko went as far as editing the document, saying that the G20 leaders should have called the war ‘in’ Ukraine, the war ‘against’ Ukraine, and writing in ‘Russia’ where the more vague ‘all states’ had been used. 

Oleg Nikolenko, a spokesman at the Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry, posted edits of the statement on X, pointing out it doesn’t call out Russia for being an aggressor and refers to the war as ‘in’ Ukraine not ‘against’ the nation 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi banged on the table as he announced the G20 leaders would have a joint communique out of this year’s Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi. Last year language over the war in Ukraine prevented an official declaration from being agreed upon 

The declaration will be signed off on by President Joe Biden (left) and the Russians. Russian President Vladimir Putin skipped this year’s G20 Leaders’ Summit, sending Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (right) in his stead

A Russian official, Svetlana Lukash, called the language ‘balanced,’ in a report put out by the Russian news agency Interfax.

Lukash commented that it was ‘one of the most difficult G20 summits in the almost twenty-year history of the forum … it took almost 20 days to agree on the declaration before the summit and five days here on the spot.’ 

‘This was not only due to some disagreements on the Ukraine subject, but also due to differences in positions on all key issues, primarily the issues of climate change and the transition to low-carbon energy systems…,’ she said. 

A European Union official told Reuters that the issue of the Ukraine war was the most contentious during negotiations.  

The G20 document said: ‘Concerning the war in Ukraine, while recalling the discussion in Bali, we reiterated our national positions and resolutions adopted at the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. General Assembly and underscored that all States must act in a manner consistent with the Purposes and Principles of the U.N. Charter in its entirety.’ 

‘In line with the U.N. Charter, all states must refrain from the threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition against the territorial integrity and sovereignty or political independence of any state. The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible,’ it also said.  
Modi, the G20’s host, announced the breakthrough Saturday afternoon at the conclusion of the summit’s second session. 

‘Friends, we just received good news,’ Modi said in Hindi. ‘Owing to the hard work of our teams and with the cooperation of you all, consensus has been reached on a New Delhi G20 leaders’ summit declaration.’

‘I declare that the declaration has been adopted,’ he said, striking his hands on the table as the room erupted in cheers.

On the Ukraine language, Nikkei cited a source close to India’s government who said Russia had to come around during India’s G20 presidency, as the two are longtime partners. 

‘Some compromise over the language [referring to the conflict] is being made,’ the source said. 

Lavrov made it to every event of the weekend – including the vegetarian feast Modi held Saturday night and the tribute to Mahatma Gandhi Sunday morning at the Raj Ghat memorial. 

The U.S. had pressed the Indians to invite Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the G20 Leaders’ Summit, but the Modi government did not do so.  

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