Blinken: The G20 meeting in India is overshadowed by the war in Ukraine

Host India refuses to blame Russia for the war, but seeks a diplomatic solution and increases purchases of Russian oil

A meeting of G20 foreign ministers has again been overshadowed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said today and urged the group to call on Moscow to withdraw its troops, Reuters reported.

The war in Ukraine has been a major issue at G20 meetings since Russia invaded its neighbor in February last year. The group of the largest economies in the world includes both the USA and Russia.

“Unfortunately, this meeting has once again been marred by Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine, its deliberate campaign of destruction of civilian targets and its assault on the core principles of the UN Charter,” Blinken told the group’s foreign ministers, according to a prepared statement provided to journalists after it was delivered by the Secretary of State this morning.

Host India refuses to blame Russia for the war, but seeks a diplomatic solution and increases purchases of Russian oil.

Blinken said the G20 should again call on Russia to stop the war and withdraw its forces in the name of international peace and economic stability. That call was agreed by most of the group’s countries at a leadership meeting in Indonesia in November.

India is keen to ensure that the war in Ukraine does not become a dominant issue during its G20 presidency and is calling for attention to be focused on food security, energy and fertilizers – topics that particularly affect less-rich nations.

Blinken said Russia had not yet agreed to renew the grain deal that facilitates Ukrainian agricultural exports across the Black Sea before it expires on March 18.

“It is imperative that the G20 speak openly in support of extending and expanding the grain initiative (in the Black Sea) to strengthen food security for the most vulnerable,” he said.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni today said she believes India can broker peace in Ukraine after the Russian invasion. Meloni made the announcement after bilateral talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi. “Modi is aware of the Italian position of full support for Ukraine,” Meloni said.

“We share the hope that India, as the rotating chair of the G20, can play a role in facilitating the path to an end to hostilities and a just peace,” Meloni said.

Modi said India, which remained neutral on the Ukraine issue, was “ready to contribute to any peace project”.

As for bilateral relations, Meloni commented that the two leaders have “decided to raise their ties to a strategic partnership” because our relationship is extremely secure.

“I’m thinking about cooperation in trade,” she added. “We reached a turnover of 15 billion euros, doubling it in two years,” Meloni emphasized.

“But we are both convinced that there is more to be done,” added the Italian Prime Minister.

Speaking at a press conference in Delhi with the Indian prime minister, Meloni added that Italy aims to strengthen its partnership with India in defense and energy security, as well as cyber security and other areas, Reuters reported.

During the meeting between Meloni and Modi, a meeting of G20 foreign ministers took place, which by all accounts appears to have been dominated by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

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