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G20 Leaders Remain Divided Over Syria



ST. PETERSBURG The G20 world leaders failed to find common ground Thursday on the U.S. push for military intervention in Syria in the wake of the chemical attack there. The Syrian conflict was the main topic of the summit’s first day, as President Barack Obama tried to garner international support for strikes in Syria amid Russian opposition.

According to Al Jazeera , Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, left no doubt that Washington had given up trying to work with the UN Security Council. She accused Russia of holding the council hostage, saying there was “no viable path forward.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov called for the international community to take part in an “objective assessment of the situation,” Russia Today reported. He said that an attack on Syria would only be possible after UN investigators have their say about the alleged chemical attack. He added that Russia “cannot accept the proof that, in our view, is not a proof at all, that is far from being convincing.”

On Thursday evening, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stressed that any response to chemical weapon use in Syria must first go through the UN. He said he hoped “that all the leaders of the five permanent Security Council members and some non-permanent members who are now here fully meet their obligations to the Syrian people,” according to Russia Today .

President Obama also faced growing pressure by world leaders concerning the global economy, with fears that a military intervention in Syria would push up oil prices, Reuters reported.

The second day of the summit is expected to focus on investment and job creation, according to the G20 website .

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Will Winter Crack The Western Alliance In Ukraine?

Kyiv's troops are facing bitter cold and snow on the frontline, but the coming season also poses longer term political questions for Ukraine's allies. It may be now or never.

Ukraine soldier firing a large cannon in winter.

Pierre Haski


PARIS — Weather is a weapon of war. And one place where that’s undoubtedly true right now is Ukraine. A record cold wave has gripped the country in recent days, with violent winds in the south that have cut off electricity of areas under both Russian and Ukrainian control. It's a nightmare for troops on the frontline, and survival itself is at stake, with supplies and movement cut off.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war , with our exclusive international coverage.

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This is the reality of winter warfare in this part of Europe, and important in both tactical and strategic terms. What Ukraine fears most in these circumstances are Russian missile or drone attacks on energy infrastructures, designed to plunge civilian populations into cold and darkness.

The Ukrainian General Staff took advantage of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's visit to Kyiv to ask the West to provide as many air defense systems as possible to protect these vital infrastructures. According to Kyiv, 90% of Russian missile launches are intercepted; but Ukraine claims that Moscow has received new weapon deliveries from North Korea and Iran, and has large amounts of stocks to strike Ukraine in the coming weeks.

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