An influential group of emerging economies said they supported talks between Moscow and Kiev at the end of a two-day summit held against the backdrop of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Beijing has hosted a virtual forum of the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – which account for more than 40 percent of the world’s population and nearly a quarter of the world’s gross domestic product.
Three members — China, India and South Africa — abstained from voting on a UN resolution condemning the Russian invasion, and President Vladimir Putin has urged them to urge Western countries shocked by the attack on a European neighboring country.
The five countries said in a statement issued late Thursday that they “support talks between Russia and Ukraine” but have not mapped out a path to ending the war.
The countries said they had “discussed our concerns about the humanitarian situation in and around Ukraine” and expressed support for international organizations “to provide humanitarian aid”.
The United States and the European Union have imposed a barrage of sanctions on Russia since it invaded Ukraine on February 24.
But China and India have tried to stay above the fray, wary of damaging strong military and commercial ties with Moscow.
South Africa, one of the few African countries with diplomatic influence outside the continent, has also refused to condemn Russia for maintaining important economic ties.
China and Russia also touted an “unlimited” partnership with President Xi Jinping last week by sending Putin a message of support on “sovereignty and security.”
The Russian president on Thursday called on BRICS leaders to work together to neutralize “selfish actions” by the West and strive for a “truly multipolar system of intergovernmental relations”.
Xi said on Wednesday on the eve of the forum that the “Ukraine crisis…is a wake-up call” and called sanctions a “boomerang and a double-edged sword”.
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