From left, US President Joe Biden, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Indonesia President Joko Widodo and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen use shovels during an activity at a mangrove seeding area as part of the G20 Summit in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, on November 16, 2022. Image Credit: REUTERS

NUSA DUA, Indonesia: Leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) nations deplored Russia’s attacks on Ukraine “in the strongest terms” on Wednesday and demanded its unconditional withdrawal in a declaration adopted at the end of a two-day summit.

The leaders of the world’s biggest economies also agreed to pace interest rate rises carefully to avoid spillovers and warned of “increased volatility” in currency moves but it was Ukraine that dominated the summit on the Indonesian island of Bali.

“Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine,” the declaration said, signalling that Russia, which is a member of G20, opposed the wording.

At least three diplomats said the statement, which recognised that “there were other views and different assessments of the situation and sanctions”, was unanimously adopted.

“The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible,” the declaration also said.

“It is essential to uphold international law and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability. This includes defending all the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and adhering to international humanitarian law.” Earlier, the day’s schedule at the summit was disrupted by an emergency meeting to discuss reports of a missile landing in Polish territory near Ukraine on Tuesday and killing two people.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo hands over G20 presidency to Prime Minister Narendra Modi at G20 Summit, in Bali on Tuesday. India will be hosting the G20 Summit next year. Image Credit: ANI

US President Joe Biden said after the meeting that the United States and its Nato allies were investigating the blast but early information suggested it may not have been caused by a missile fired from Russia.

Nato member Poland had said a rocket killed two people in eastern Poland near Ukraine, and it summoned Russia’s ambassador for an explanation after Russia denied it was responsible.

Leaders from the Group of Seven nations, Spain, the Netherlands and the EU, who were all in Bali for the G20 summit, attended the meeting. The G7 includes the United States, Germany, France, Canada, Italy, Britain and Japan.

Taking a break from the negotiations, the G20 leaders dressed in white shirts, some with baseball caps with the G20 logo, took part in a ceremony to plant mangrove saplings to signal the battle against climate change.

They agreed to pursue efforts to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5C, including speeding up efforts to phase down unabated use of coal.

On the sidelines of the summit, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen held a two-hour meeting with Chinese central bank Governor Yi Gang, her first in-person talks with a senior Chinese economic official.

She had said before the meeting she hoped to get new insight into China’s policy plans and work towards more economic engagement between the two countries.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told Reuters on the summit sidelines that several major economies faced a real risk of sliding into recession as the war in Ukraine, rising food and fuel costs, and soaring inflation cloud the global outlook.

The 19 countries in the G20 together with the European Union account for more than 80% of the world’s gross domestic product, 75% of international trade and 60% of its population.