Some G20 countries support the general principles of the inadmissibility of war, but in practice seek to preserve their relations with Russia, the diplomat said.
The position of the European Union and the G7 countries on the Russian invasion of Ukraine does not prevail among the G20 countries, EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell wrote after the G20 ministerial summit in Indonesia on Sunday, July 10.
“The main conclusion is that in abstract terms everyone agrees on the need to defend principles such as territorial sovereignty and the non-use of force. However, it often looks different when the specifics begin,” Borrell wrote. “The brutal truth is that national interests often outweigh a shared commitment to higher ideals,” he stated.
Borrell recalled that at the UN General Assembly vote in March, 140 states condemned Russian aggression and no G20 member except Russia opposed the resolution. “But about how to move forward and about the consequences of the war, opinions are sharply divided,” Borrell wrote. While the G7 and like-minded countries are united in condemning both Russia’s actions and the issue of sanctions against the Kremlin, other countries often take a different view, he stressed.
“When it comes to naming the aggressor and specifying who is responsible for the consequences, many refrain from doing so for various reasons. Some are more concerned about the consequences of the war for themselves rather than who is responsible for those difficulties and how to end that war; others complain about ‘double standards’ or just want to maintain good bilateral relations with Russia,” Borrell described the position in the G20. According to him, many countries do not want to take sides because it may jeopardize their geopolitical interests.
Separately, Borrell highlighted the behavior of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who left the summit immediately after his speech at the first session. “He wouldn’t even listen to what others were saying. This decision tells you everything you need to know about how much Russia really cares about multilateral forums. I hope that some of the G20 members who are taking a wait-and-see position on the war in Ukraine have taken note of this,” Borrell concluded.