Espreso. Global

Why is G20 joint statement dangerous for Ukraine?

12 September, 2023 Tuesday

We are entering a new stage in the fight against the Russian aggressor, when emotions will no longer have such a powerful effect as in the first days of the full-scale invasion


In the days leading up to the G20 Summit in New Delhi on September 9-10, the world was watching the diplomatic struggle over the wording of the "Ukrainian part" of the final joint statement with great concern. Several times, the negotiators approached a "deadlock" and the prospect of refusing to approve the final document as a whole, which would be a sign of the failure of the summit and the foreign policy fiasco of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Consultations took place at all levels, including the Group's leaders.

The compromise satisfied all the participants of the summit, but disappointed Ukrainian diplomacy, which, not without reason, saw significant foreign policy risks and threats.

First, the compromise wording of the "Ukrainian part" of the statement was a significant step backwards in the G20's position on the protracted war compared to the last Bali summit, which condemned Russian aggression against Ukraine and called for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the temporarily occupied territories. This text also undermines the consensus on UN General Assembly resolutions condemning Russian aggression and calling for its immediate cessation.

"There is a threat that the "Indian common denominator" of the G20 will become a new benchmark for many UN members, especially those in the Global South, and will be actively and effectively used, first and foremost, by Russian diplomacy in its efforts to dilute the next initiatives of the Ukrainian side."

Second, the diminishing potential of Western diplomacy to influence the positions of the Global South on such an acute international issue as Russia's brutal violation of the UN Charter, in particular the principle of territorial integrity, and its numerous war crimes on the territory of Ukraine is of great concern. Whether it was a "goodwill gesture" by the West in favor of Modi, especially in the context of the 2024 Indian elections, or a real failure of Western leaders to convince their "southern" counterparts, the "Indian common denominator" marginalizes the issue of Russian aggression against Ukraine on the agenda of world leaders.

Third, the results of the G20 summit not only significantly complicate the tasks of Ukrainian diplomacy and the President of Ukraine during the next session of the UN General Assembly, but also undermine the inviolability of the principle of "nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine" and further efforts to successfully hold the Global Peace Summit, and call into question the effectiveness of the much-publicized format of diplomatic advisers. After all, it is clear that the field for diplomatic maneuvers has now narrowed considerably, and advisers from the Global South will be reluctant to go beyond the new consensus position of the G20.

"Fourth, the symbolic circumstance of the illegal elections of the aggressor in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine adds to the threat to the "Indian common denominator". The fact that they took place on the days of the G20 summit in New Delhi casts an additional shadow over the outcome of the event regarding Ukraine. And this shadow is not only threatening, but also dangerous."

The circumstance that seemed to unite the world to put even more pressure on the aggressor did not and was lost. Just as the achievements of the G20 Foreign Ministers' meeting in March this year, also under the Indian presidency, were lost, when the common language indicated a tendency to gradually increase pressure on Moscow, not the other way around.

Fifth, the controversial outcome of the summit is a signal that the space for domestic political mistakes is shrinking for our country. Any internal, even the smallest, miscalculation will be exaggerated by Russian propaganda to undermine Ukraine's international position.

We hope that Ukrainian diplomacy will carefully analyze the causes and consequences of such an ambiguous decision and adjust its strategic and communication approaches.

Obviously, we are entering a new stage in the fight against the Russian aggressor, when emotions will no longer have such a powerful effect as in the first days of the full-scale invasion. Accordingly, the presence of Lavrov or any other Kremlin emissary will not be as disgusting as it used to be. Therefore, efforts should be stepped up to counter Russian diplomacy's attempts to use the "New Delhi precedent" to further destroy Russia's current level of isolation. The classics of international relations suggest that with each new day of the war, more and more "arguments" will be heard about the need to bring Russia back to the diplomatic table. For this, for example, it is enough to look at the example of Syrian Assad and the normalization of relations with him, despite the position of the United States.

The world is changing, and we must take this into account if we are to achieve the long-awaited and necessary Victory for Ukraine.


About the author: Kostiantyn Yelisieiev, Ukrainian diplomat, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine.

The editors don't always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.

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