1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

G20: Baerbock tells Russia's Lavrov to end Ukraine war 'now'

February 21, 2024

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called on her Russian counterpart to end the war in Ukraine, saying it was imperative if Russia cares about its citizens' lives. The G20 foreign ministers are meeting in Brazil.

Baerbock takes her seat, two away from Russia's Lavrov, at a G20 foreign ministers' meeting, 2024
Baerbock has said the world would hold Russian leader Vladimir Putin accountable for the war in Ukraine Image: Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa/picture alliance

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called out her Russian counterpart at a high-level foreign ministers' meeting Wednesday, saying Russia ought to end the war in Ukraine.

"If you care about human lives, if you care about your own people, Russian children and young people, you must end this war now," the German top diplomat told Sergey Lavrov.

The two were seated at the same table as they participated in a foreign ministers' meeting of the world's 20 richest economies, dubbed the Group of 20 or G20.

Baerbock says Russian aggression more than 'a regional conflict'

Baerbock said Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, soon approaching its second anniversary on February 24 was "more than a regional conflict." 

The Russian war of aggression, she said, "challenges us all to resolutely defend the fundamental principles that protect us all in the United Nations Charter, international law and human rights. These principles protect all nations, no matter how big or small." 

The UN Charter was signed in 1945 and established the Security Council with five permanent members, each of whom has the power to veto any resolution they oppose.

Russia, one of the permanent members of the Security Council, has used its power to block any resolution condemning its war in Ukraine.

This has sparked repeated criticism of the powerful global body. The Council has also once again come under fire for not being able to decidedly act on limiting civilian casualties in Gaza as the United States, another permanent member, has vetoed resolutions calling for a cease-fire. 

"The effects of these two wars are hitting the poorest people the hardest around the world," Baerbock said, with the second war in reference to the conflict in Gaza. She called for peace in both Ukraine and the Middle East region.

Brazil slams 'paralysis' in UN Security Council

Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira said multilateral institutions were "not properly equipped to deal with the current challenges, as has been demonstrated by the Security Council's unacceptable paralysis on the ongoing conflicts" in Gaza and Ukraine. He added the situation was costing "innocent lives."

Brazil's Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira opened a two-day meeting of foreign ministers of G20
Brazil's Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira opened a two-day meeting of foreign ministers of G20Image: Silvia Izquierdo/AP/picture alliance

He called for a "profound reform" of global governance, as Brazil took over the annual presidency of the G20 this year. The ministerial meetings are important for shaping up the agenda for the summit of the leaders, which will be held in November.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has set reforming global institutions to include more voices from developing nations as one of Brazil's key proposals.

G20 leaders agree on joint declaration

rm/sms (dpa, AFP, AP)