It was a seen and not seen. Or rather, it was a seen, a bath of long faces and a goodbye before time. Russian media report that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will leave the G20 diplomatic chiefs summit, which began in Bali on Thursday, two hours earlier than planned, due to harsh criticism by most participants of the invasion of Ukraine. According to the BBC, the last straw for Lavrov was the refusal of many of his colleagues to appear together with him in the family photo.
According to the British newspaper, the Russian participation in Bali had started off on the wrong foot. It was the first time since the ‘special operation’ launched last February that Lavrov and his American counterpart, Anthony Blinken, would step on the same carpet. Everyone’s discomfort was guaranteed. Upon entering the resort on the Indonesian island, an anonymous person could be heard shouting: “When will you stop the war? Why don’t you stop the war?”
In the plenary session of leaders, according to various media, everything got worse. “Aggressors”, “invaders”, “occupiers” were some of the outbursts that other diplomatic leaders dedicated to one of Vladimir Putin’s right-hand men. The boycott of Russia spread to all levels, including the ministerial dinner on Thursday night, to which Japan decided not to send its representative. The Japanese news agency Kyodo assured that the G7 ministers refused to be photographed with Lavrov. Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said during his speech at the summit that Russia’s “violent acts” must unite the international community and make Moscow “pay a heavy price.”
Precisely the murder of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has unexpectedly dominated the agenda of a meeting in which, until the news was known, only Ukraine was discussed. Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares conveyed his condolences to Hayashi. According to Spanish diplomatic sources, he did so shortly after meeting his Chinese counterpart and receiving repeated congratulations from Blinken for the successful organization of the NATO Summit. Delegates from Brazil, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates have also had a few minutes with Albares.
“I cannot stand someone who is bombing children, adults and civilians at the same time. Therefore, there will be no group photography at this summit,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters. To which Lavrov, who was not present during the intervention of the German, has responded according to official Russian media: “I did not invite anyone to be photographed with me.”
Ukrainian diplomatic sources have explained that Lavrov left the auditorium just as his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, was speaking via videoconference. As in the case of Baerbock, it also did not appear during the speech of Blinken, who devoted much of his conference to advocating the resumption of Ukrainian grain exports, to avoid increasing the damage in many countries of the Middle East and the north. from Africa as a result of declining trade. Despite the emptiness in the Russian seat, Blinken blurted out: “To our Russian colleagues: Ukraine is not your country. That grain is not your grain. Why are you blockading the ports? You should let this grain sail.”
Russia, accused of cashing in on the sale of grain looted from the Ukrainian countryside, has assured that Ukraine has a free hand to trade, but recalled that the naval mines it laid to defend itself prevent it. The Russian newspaper ‘Kommersant’ reports that Sergei Lavrov held bilateral meetings in Bali with the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, and with the Turkish Mevlut Çavusoglu. However, he adds, a number of countries, including Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, France or Japan, did everything possible from the outset to avoid the Russian presence. When they failed, they boycotted it. Therefore, there was no chance for a Lavrov-Blinken face-to-face, which the latter had ruled out in advance.
“If the West does not want talks to take place, but wants Ukraine to defeat Russia on the battlefield – both points of view have been expressed – then perhaps there is nothing to talk about with the West,” Lavrov said. , in words collected by the Russian agency Tass. “By following such approaches, Ukraine is being prevented from moving forward with the peace process, thus giving the country more weapons to use to attack cities and kill civilians,” he added.
Indonesia had to deal with a potato that was hot beforehand. Last April, the representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada staged a walkout in protest at the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting, also in Bali. A situation like the one that ended up happening was expected and to which Lavrov himself had anticipated when, speaking to the press before the meeting, he emphasized that I will not “run” after Washington to dialogue.
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