The last gathering of the leaders of the Group of 20 nations ended with a delicately worded statement that hinted at the diplomatic contortions that went into producing the semblance of an agreement on Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The statement released in Indonesia in November noted that while most of the group condemned the war, “There were other views and different assessments.”
The divisions have only deepened since then.
China has strengthened economic ties with Russia and its leader, Xi Jinping, made a state visit to Moscow in March. In February, a meeting of the G20 finance ministers ended with Russia and China refusing to sign parts of a joint statement that referred to the war.
India, this year’s host, has been strengthening its relationships with the United States and other Western nations but has been reluctant to directly criticize the war. New Delhi has been buying large amounts of discounted oil from Russia and depends on it as a source of weapons.
“The Ukraine crisis has cast a large shadow on the G20,” said Manjari Chatterjee Miller, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
While India has cast itself as a bridge between Western nations and the rest of the world, it seems unlikely that it will be able to broker a joint statement at the summit, Ms. Miller said in an interview before the summit started. Such a failure would diminish the group’s history of reaching a consensus among disparate members, she added.
Other major economies in the G20 are in positions that are similarly complicated to India’s. Brazil relies on Russia for fertilizer and fuel, and has refused to send to Ukraine any weapons destined for the front lines. South Africa has longstanding ties to Russia and has been accused by U.S. lawmakers of covertly supplying arms and ammunition to Moscow. Turkey has sold weapons to Ukraine but refused to join Western sanctions against Moscow, and has served as a conduit of goods to Russia.
The situation within the G20 contrasts with that of the smaller and more closely aligned Group of 7 nations, which includes mainly wealthy Western democracies. (Russia was barred from what had been the Group of 8 after President Vladimir V. Putin illegally annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.)
At the G7 summit in May in Japan, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine made a surprise appearance and received a red-carpet welcome. The leaders came together to discuss providing Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets, and pledged to toughen punishment on Moscow and redouble efforts to choke off funding for its war.
India has not extended an invitation to Ukraine, which is not a member of the G20. At last year’s gathering, Mr. Zelensky addressed the leaders by video link, calling for accountability for Russia’s violations of international law.
Neither Mr. Xi nor Mr. Putin is expected to attend this year’s meeting. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, who is attending in Mr. Putin’s place, said last week that there would be no “general statement” from all countries at the summit unless Russia’s position is reflected, according to Tass, a Russian state news agency.
However, on the eve of the summit, Indian officials expressed confidence that the leaders would overcome their differences and put out a joint declaration, something that has been in doubt in recent weeks. Negotiations on the declaration were expected to continue into Sunday, when the summit closes.