G20 commits to boosting economic growth, fighting climate change
Russian President Vladmir Putin leaves summit early as ties between West, Russia plummet
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.
If [Putin] continues to destabilize Ukraine there will be further sanctions, further measures.- British Prime Minister David Cameron
"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.
Climate change was 'most difficult discussion'
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.
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.
The final communique called for strong and effective action to address climate change with the aim of adopting a protocol, with legal force, at a UN climate conference in Paris in 2015.
"The most difficult discussion was on climate change," an EU official told reporters on condition of anonymity. "This was really trench warfare, this was really step by step by step. In the end we have references to most of the things we wanted."
Obama put climate change squarely on the G20 agenda with a speech on Saturday calling on all nations to act, and committing $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund. Japan pledged $1.5 billion to the fund on Sunday.
World leaders also agreed to unite in the fight against Ebola, which Britain's Cameron said was not only a humanitarian crisis but also a security threat.
"The best way we can keep out people safe from Ebola is by tackling it at source," he said.
Russian sanctions 'are biting plenty good'
Sanctions against Russia aimed at sectors like oil and banking, as well as individuals close to Putin, are squeezing its economy at a time when falling oil prices are straining the budget and the rouble has plunged on financial markets.
Earlier in the day, Obama, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lined up together against Russia, vowing to oppose what they called Moscow's efforts to destabilize eastern Ukraine.
European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel also warned of more sanctions unless Russia ends its support for pro-Russian separatist rebels.
EU foreign ministers will meet on Monday to consider further steps, including additional possible sanctions on Russia.