Russian President Vladimir Putin said he has never rejected peace talks with Ukraine, during an online gathering of the Group of 20 major economies held Wednesday amid his country's ongoing invasion of its neighbor.

The virtual meeting came after the G20 in September issued a leaders' declaration that avoided condemning Russia's aggression, during an in-person gathering in New Delhi, reflecting the divisions over the Ukraine crisis that began in February 2022.

Russian President Vladimir Putin participates in an online G20 summit from Moscow on Nov. 22, 2023. (Pool photo)(AP/Kyodo)

Putin said Wednesday that Russia will consider how to end the "tragedy" of the conflict in Ukraine, although Moscow has shown little sign of refraining from attacking it.

It is rare for a chair of the G20 to call a second summit during its stint in the rotating presidency. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had indicated he would host a virtual meeting by the end of his nation's tenure later this year.

As India has emphasized boosting relations with emerging and developing economies in the "Global South," the G20 leaders approved the inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member of the grouping at the New Delhi summit.

India is a key member of the Global South, a term that collectively refers to countries in areas including Asia, Africa and Latin America, many of which have refrained from taking a stance on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Some such countries are highly dependent on Russia for military and energy supplies. While the Group of Seven nations have bolstered economic sanctions against Moscow in tandem with other democracies, India has chosen not to follow suit.

Putin skipped the face-to-face gathering in India in September, sending Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on his behalf.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida gives remarks during an online G20 summit that he participated in from Tokyo on Nov. 22, 2023. (Photo courtesy of the Cabinet Public Affairs Office)(Kyodo)

From Japan, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attended the online summit.

Along with the G7 -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States plus the European Union -- the G20 groups Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey, as well as African Union.


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