Germany and France insisted Friday, Feb 24, that any joint statement from the ongoing G20 finance ministers meeting must refer to the Russia-Ukraine "war", following reports that host India wanted to avoid the word.

Organising a raft of Group of 20 meetings during its presidency this year puts India in an awkward position, as it has refused to condemn the invasion of Ukraine by its biggest arms supplier Russia.

Media reports said India wanted to keep the word "war" out of any final statement from the meeting of finance ministers and central bank heads that wraps up on Saturday in Bengaluru.

Russia is a member of the G20 but does not have a ministerial-level representative at the gathering. Next week, however, Sergei Lavrov is expected to attend a meeting of G20 foreign ministers in New Delhi.

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"For a year we have been witnesses of this awful war in Ukraine started by Russia. And especially on a day like this, and at an occasion such as a G20 event, we need absolute clarity," German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said, alluding to the one-year anniversary of the February 24 invasion.

"This is a war. And this war has a cause, has one cause, and that is Russia and (President) Vladimir Putin. That must be expressed clearly at this G20 finance meeting," Lindner told a news conference.

He said it would be "unacceptable for Germany" if the language from a leaders' declaration at a G20 summit in Indonesia in November -- which Putin did not attend -- was weakened.

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Pyongyang answered NATO statements condemning the Kim regime for helping Russian aggression in Ukraine by issuing a denial and counter-condemnation of the Alliance.

That declaration, issued in Bali, said "most members strongly condemned the war".

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire echoed Lindner, saying Paris "will oppose any step back from the statement of the leaders in Bali on this question of the war in Ukraine".

"We fully trust India to reach a strong communique," Le Maire told a news conference.

The apparent deadlock raises the probability that the meeting in Bengaluru will fail to yield any joint statement, as was the case at similar gatherings since Russia's invasion.

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Britain's finance minister Jeremy Hunt told reporters there could be no progress on major challenges including climate change and poverty alleviation without first resolving security threats.

"There is no artificial choice between whether we focus on Ukraine or whether we focus on other important global issues," he said, according to Bloomberg News.

"Unless we resolve the global security threats, there can be no progress on these other areas."

  

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