(Reuters) – Leaders from the G20 group of nations agreed on Sunday to boost flagging global growth, tackle climate change and crack down on tax avoidance but ties between the West and Russia plummeted to a new low over the crisis in Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin left the G20 summit in Brisbane early as U.S. President Barack Obama accused Russia of invading Ukraine and Britain warned of a possible “frozen conflict” in Europe.
Several Western nations warned Russia of further sanctions if it did not withdraw troops and weapons from Ukraine.
“I think President Putin can see he is at a crossroads,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron. “If he continues to destabilize Ukraine there will be further sanctions, further measures.
“There is a cost to sanctions, but there would be a far greater cost in allowing a frozen conflict on the continent of Europe to be created and maintained.”
Obama said Russia’s isolation was unavoidable.
“We would prefer a Russia that is fully integrated with the global economy,” he told a news conference.
“But we are also very firm on the need to uphold core international principles…. you don’t invade other countries or finance proxies and support them in ways that break up a country that has mechanisms for democratic elections.”
Before leaving the G20 Summit, Putin said a solution to the Ukraine crisis was possible, but did not elaborate.
“Today the situation (in Ukraine) in my view has good chances for resolution, no matter how strange it may sound,” Putin said. He skipped a working lunch at the summit to leave early, citing the long flight home and need for sleep.
Russia has denied any involvement in the conflict in Ukraine that has killed more than 4,000 people this year.
Security and climate change overshadowed G20 talks on boosting global economic growth at the summit, although the leaders did sign off on a package of measures to add an extra 2.1 percentage points to global growth over five years.
“This will add more than $2 trillion to the global economy and create millions of jobs,” said a communique issued at the end of the meeting, which also committed to tackle global tax avoidance denying government’s billions of dollars in revenue.
The United States and other nations overrode host Australia’s attempts to keep climate change off the formal agenda. Australia is one of the world’s biggest carbon emitters per capita.