New Delhi: Russia cannot be allowed to wage war with impunity, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his counterparts from India, Japan and Australia said in a statement on Friday following a meeting in New Delhi.
The so-called Quad group also said that the use, or threat of use, of nuclear weapons in Ukraine was “inadmissible”.
Late last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended a landmark nuclear arms control treaty and threatened to resume nuclear tests.
“If we allow with impunity Russia to do what it’s doing in Ukraine, then that’s a message to would-be aggressors everywhere that they may be able to get away with it too,” Blinken told a forum in India.
Blinken met with counterparts from the Quad group on the sidelines of a G20 meeting in New Delhi, where ministers had traded blame over the conflict.
A day earlier in New Delhi, Blinken met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for the first time since the conflict in Ukraine began just over a year ago. During the brief encounter, Blinken urged Moscow to end the war and reverse its suspension of the New START nuclear treaty, a senior U.S. official said.
The Russian foreign ministry said Lavrov and Blinken spoke for less than 10 minutes and did not engage in any negotiations, Russian news agencies reported.
At the G20, the United States and its allies called on member countries to keep pressuring Russia to end the conflict, but the G20 was unable to agree a joint statement on the war due to opposition from Russia, which calls its actions a “special military operation”, and China.
On Friday, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell urged the global community to work together. “Everybody who is abstaining in several different regions, they have to understand that we are facing something that breaks the possibility of having a world consensus,” he said.
In their statement, the Quad ministers also took a barely disguised swipe at China by denouncing actions that increase tensions in the South China Sea, and the “militarisation” of disputed territories in the area.
China has denounced the Quad as a Cold War construct and a clique “targeting other countries”. The group’s title is the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, focused on strategic issues in the Indo-Pacific region.
(Additional reporting by Tanvi Mehta and Shilpa Jamkhandikar; Writing by Miral Fahmy; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
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