US, allies in war of words with Russia at G20 meet
The US and its European allies have sparred with Russia over the war in Ukraine and urged G20 nations to keep up pressure on Moscow to end a conflict that they said had destabilised the world.
Russia hit back, accusing the West of turning work on the G20 agenda into a "farce" and said Western delegations wanted to shift responsibility for their economic failures onto Moscow.
Russia's war in Ukraine, now into its second year, remained in the spotlight, as expected, as the foreign ministers of G20 countries came together on Thursday for a day-long meeting in New Delhi.
Russia describes its action in Ukraine as a special military operation to eliminate security threats.
"We must continue to call on Russia to end its war of aggression and withdraw from Ukraine for the sake of international peace and economic stability," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, according to prepared remarks shared with reporters after his address at the closed-door meeting.
"Unfortunately, this meeting has again been marred by Russia's unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine," Blinken said.
He was backed by his counterparts from Germany, France and the Netherlands.
"Unfortunately, one G20 member prevents all the other 19 from focusing all their efforts on these issues the G20 was created for," German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told the meeting, addressing Russia's Sergei Lavrov, according to the German delegation.
"I ask you, Mr Lavrov, to return to full implementation of New START (nuclear arms treaty) and to resume dialogue with the US Because, as China rightly pointed out in its 12-points-plan, the threat of nuclear weapons should be opposed," she added.
President Vladimir Putin last week announced Russia's decision to suspend participation in the latest START treaty, after accusing the West - without providing evidence - of being directly involved in attempts to strike its strategic air bases.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said the war in Ukraine had hurt "almost every country on the planet, in terms of food, energy, inflation".
"The G20 must respond firmly, like it did at the Bali Summit. The message at Bali was clear, as G20, we need to deliver solutions that protect the most vulnerable, instead of leaving them to suffer from Russia's war," Colonna said, referring to the November meeting of G20 heads of state and governments in Indonesia.
Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra told CNBC that Russia was solely responsible for the war and must continue to be sanctioned.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, however, sought to blame the West for the global political and economic crises.
"A number of Western delegations turned the work on the G20 agenda into a farce, wanting to shift the responsibility for their failures in the economy to the Russian Federation," Lavrov said according to a Russian statement.
"The West creates obstacles for the export of agricultural products of the Russian Federation, no matter how the representatives of the EU convince the contrary."
In an inaugural address, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on the foreign ministers to find common ground on global issues.
India, which holds the presidency of the bloc this year, has declined to blame Russia for the war and has sought a diplomatic solution while sharply boosting its purchases of Russian oil.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who is visiting India, met Modi on Thursday and asked for his help in facilitaing "just peace" in Ukraine.
The G20 is an economic grouping that includes the wealthy G7 nations as well as Russia, China, India, Brazil, Australia and Saudi Arabia, among other nations.