G20: Leaders Decide on Statement but Soften Ukraine Stance

    G20: Leaders Decide on Statement but Soften Ukraine Stance
    Last updated Sep 11, 2023
    Image credit: Office of the President of the United States [via Wikimedia Commons]


    • In a major diplomatic breakthrough Saturday, G20 leaders managed to adopt a consensus statement for the summit in India, overcoming deep divisions over the war in Ukraine.
    • The 83-paragraph document, which focused mostly on measures to improve development in the Global South, drew Ukraine's ire as it omitted words from the 2022 statement — avoiding a direct condemnation of Russia to reach a compromise. US President Joe Biden said of the summit and its flurry of bilateral sidebar activities: "This is a big deal...The world stands at an inflection point in history, a point where decisions we make today affect the course of all our futures for decades to come.”
    • The Russia-Ukraine War proved to be the most complex issue on the G20 agenda, demanding hundreds of hours of discussions to reach a consensus as Russia, China, and some developing countries objected to more forceful language regarding the conflict. Several draft versions reportedly contained no language on the matter.
    • In its final version, the declaration urged respect for "territorial integrity and sovereignty," stating that all countries should also abstain from action against the political independence of any state.
    • Leaders also agreed to triple renewable energy capacity globally by 2030, accepting the need to phase down coal power, as well as moving forward on issues such as reforming institutions like the World Bank.
    • The summit was formally closed on Sunday, with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi passing a ceremonial gavel to Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, whose country will take the presidency in December.


    Establishment-critical narrative

    The Global South has successfully blocked attempts from Western powers to "Ukrainianize" the G20 agenda, protecting its own legitimate interests and needs. This further indicates that developing countries will no longer accept the use of multilateral tools to promote one-sided perspectives — especially in a forum that hasn't been established to discuss situations such as the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    The softened language on Russia's war in Ukraine is not a Western defeat, but rather a strategic move to boost India's global influence in a bid to isolate Russia and China. While substantially similar to the joint statement issued in Bali last year, this latest communique has brought the West closer to major democracies in the Global South, which are key swing actors in world issues. The revised language on the Ukraine front is unfortunate, but ultimately the entire statement is a boon for democracies worldwide.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 4% chance that there will be a bilateral cease-fire or peace agreement in the Russo-Ukraine conflict before 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



    More neutral establishment stance articles

    Sign up to our newsletter!