Russia’s isolation puts China and India under spotlight

Russia’s international isolation grew Wednesday, as world leaders sought to gain unanimous support in condemning its war in Ukraine that has killed thousands of people and roiled the global economy.

At the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, scrutiny fell on China and India as Western countries pushed for a strong denunciation of the war in a closing statement that was due just hours after Poland said a “Russian-made missile” had landed in a village near its border with Ukraine, killing two people.

It remains unclear who fired that missile. Both Russian and Ukrainian forces have used Russian-made munitions during the conflict, with Ukraine deploying Russian-made missiles as part of their air defense system. But whatever the outcome of the investigation into the deadly strike, the incident underscored the dangers of miscalculation in a brutal war that has stretched on for nearly nine months, and which risks escalating further and dragging major powers into it.

Waking up to the news, US President Joe Biden and leaders from the G7 and NATO convened an emergency meeting in Bali to discuss the explosion. The incident now raises the stakes in an effort by the US and its allies to end the G20 summit with a joint communique denouncing Russia’s war.

The passing of the communique would require the buy-in from leaders that share close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and have until now seemed reluctant to outwardly criticize his invasion — most notably Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who declared a “no-limits” friendship between their countries weeks before the invasion, and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

With the summit set to draw to a close on Wednesday afternoon, all eyes are on what the final declaration will look like, and which countries will sign it.

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