What are world leaders saying about Russia and Ukraine at G20?

As Russia and Ukraine trade blame at the Bali summit, other world leaders call for unity.

Indonesia President Joko Widodo speaks during the G20 leaders summit in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia
The G20 groups together 19 countries and the European Union representing the world’s 20 largest economies, including Russia [Dita Alangkara/Pool via AP]

World leaders have condemned Russia’s war in Ukraine as they gather for a tense Group of 20 (G20) nations meeting in Bali.

As the two-day summit opened on Tuesday, Indonesia, the host nation, made a plea for unity despite rifts within the G20 – which includes Russia – over the conflict.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged the group, which he referred to in a video address as “the G19”, in an apparent snub to Russia, to stop the war with his “peace formula”.

Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister and top representative at the summit, was reportedly in the room when Zelenskyy made his address. Lavrov later accused Ukraine of dragging out the conflict.

Here is a roundup of what has been said:


Ukraine’s president called on G20 leaders to adopt a 10-point peace plan and end the war “justly and on the basis of the UN Charter and international law”.

“Ukraine should not be offered to conclude compromises with its conscience, sovereignty, territory and independence. We respect the rules and we are people of our word,” Zelenskyy told the summit via video link from Kyiv.

He rejected any negotiations similar to the deals between Kyiv and Moscow in 2014 after Russia invaded and annexed Crimea and backed rebel separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

“We will not allow Russia to wait, build up its forces, and then start a new series of terror and global destabilisation,” Zelenskyy said.

“Apparently, one cannot trust Russia’s words, and there will be no Minsk 3, which Russia would violate immediately after signing,” he added, referring to the Minsk 1 and 2 agreements signed in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Zelenskyy also called for all Ukrainian prisoners of war to be released, the restoration of “radiation safety” at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine, the introduction of price restrictions on Russian energy resources, and an expansion of the UN and Turkish-mediated Black Sea grain export deal.


Russia’s foreign minister accused Kyiv of dragging out the war following Zelenskyy’s remarks.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the summit, Lavrov said Ukraine was refusing to talk to Moscow and had put forward unrealistic conditions for peace.

He also said any renewal of the Black Sea grain export deal – which is due to expire on Saturday – depended on the removal of obstacles to the export of Russian grain and fertilisers.

Russia has long complained of barriers to such exports, even though they are not directly penalised by sweeping Western sanctions imposed on Moscow in response to its offensive.


Indonesia’s president appealed for unity as he opened the G20 summit.

“We have no other option, collaboration is needed to save the world,” Widodo said.

“[The] G20 must be the catalyst for inclusive economic recovery. We should not divide the world into parts. We must not allow the world to fall into another cold war,” he added.

“Being responsible means creating not zero-sum situations, being responsible here also means that we must end the war. If the war does not end, it will be difficult for the world to move forward.”

Indonesia is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, a loose coalition formed in 1961 with the aim of avoiding East-West confrontations, and has adopted a cautious stance on the Ukraine war.  It has largely focused on food and energy insecurity issues.

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo
Widodo attends a working session on energy and food security during the G20 Summit in Bali on Tuesday [Bay Ismoyo/Pool Photo via AP]

United States

President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping reiterated “their agreement that a nuclear war should never be fought” on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Monday, according to the White House.

“President Biden raised Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine and Russia’s irresponsible threats of nuclear use,” a readout of the meeting said.

“President Biden and President Xi reiterated their agreement that a nuclear war should never be fought and can never be won and underscored their opposition to the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” it added.

Washington is Ukraine’s strongest ally, while Beijing is closely tied to Russia.


China’s president made no direct mention of the war in Ukraine during his address to the G20 meeting, as he called for increased global “solidarity”.

“It is imperative that all countries embrace the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, and advocate peace, development, and win-win cooperation,” Xi said.

“Division and confrontation serve no one’s interest. Only solidarity and common development is the right choice to make.”

Beijing has called for peace throughout the war, but an official in August pinned blame on Washington as the “main instigator” of the conflict.

Moscow and Beijing signed a no-limits partnership just days before the invasion began and Russia has sought to forge closer political and economic ties with China in the face of Western sanctions.


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged G20 leaders to return to diplomacy to end the war.

“We have to find a way to return to the path of ceasefire and diplomacy in Ukraine,” Modi said on Tuesday, in his opening remarks at the summit.

“The need of the hour is to show concrete and collective resolve to ensure peace, harmony and security in the world.”

Modi said there should be no restrictions on energy supplies and called for global gas and food markets to be safeguarded.

Russia is a leading producer and exporter of energy, as well as fertiliser. Ukraine is one of the world’s top food producers.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom’s prime minister condemned Russia’s invasion, saying it had “undermined the fundamental principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

“We all depend on these principles. They are the foundations of the international order. They must be upheld,” Sunak told the summit, according to a Downing Street transcript of his speech.

He said it was in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s power to end the war and highlighted his absence at the meeting.

“It is notable that Putin didn’t feel able to join us here. Maybe if he had, we could get on with sorting things out,” Sunak said.

“Because the single biggest difference that anyone could make is for Russia to get out of Ukraine and end this barbaric war,” he added.

“It is very simple – countries should not invade their neighbours, they should not attack civilian infrastructure and civilian populations and they should not threaten nuclear escalation.”

The BBC media outlet said Sunak’s comments marked “the first time a British prime minister has directly confronted a senior Russian official since the invasion began”.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
Sunak said Russia’s offensive had ‘undermined the fundamental principles of sovereignty’ [Mast Irham/Pool via Reuters]


France’s presidency said it was crucial for Paris and Beijing to cooperate to overcome the consequences of the war in Ukraine, after Emmanuel Macron met Xi on Tuesday on the sidelines.

“The president expressed his deep concern over the choice made by Russia to continue this war in Ukraine,” the French presidency said in a statement after the talks.

“The consequences of this conflict go beyond Europe’s borders and should be overcome with close cooperation between France and China,” it said.

However, a Chinese summary of the talks made little mention of Ukraine.

“President Xi made the point that China’s position on the Ukraine crisis is clear and consistent; China stands for ceasefire, cessation of the conflict and peace talks,” the Chinese statement said, adding that China would continue to work in its way to play a constructive role.


German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday that there was growing “consensus” at the G20 meeting that Russia’s war against Ukraine is unacceptable and that nuclear weapons must not be used.

“This is a consensus that is gaining ground here,” Scholz told reporters in Bali.

Scholz also said he would continue to talk to Putin directly in an attempt to find solutions to end the war.

United Nations

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had a “very frank and open discussion” on the Black Sea grain deal with Lavrov on Tuesday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, a spokesman for the world body said.

“They had a lengthy meeting and they went through all the aspects related to the process of facilitation of Russian exports – food and fertilisers – and the Black Sea Grain Initiative,” deputy UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies