Russia's foreign minister calls sanctions 'blackmail' at the G20

The Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, has defended the military operation in Ukraine and dismissed people who condemned it in New Delhi on Friday.

Lavrov said bluntly in an interview that the G-20 summit in the Indian capital was focused on "what to do with Ukraine" and said that the economic group was never concerned about previous conflicts in other nations.

He called interviewer Sunjoy Joshi, chair of the Observer Research Foundation, an "ideal propagandist of the Soviet Union style" after asking what is the "endgame" in Ukraine.

Lavrov also said that people are suffering not because of the conflict in Ukraine but because of sanctions and what he called blackmail.

He added that Russia's only choice was to begin what he called an "operation" in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the top diplomats of Australia, India, Japan and the United States said on Friday their Indo-Pacific-focused bloc, known as the Quad, is not aimed at countering China.

It has released a statement filled with buzzwords and phrases that reflect growing unease over China’s influence in the region.

This comes a day after China and Russia thwarted the G20 from adopting a joint communique on Russia's war against Ukraine when the Quad specifically endorsed language to which Beijing and Moscow objected. That dialogue included a line that said, "the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.”

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