G20 host Indonesia urged foreign ministers of the group on Friday to help end the war in Ukraine, as Russia’s top diplomat accused the West of scuppering a chance to tackle global economic issues with “frenzied” criticism of the conflict. Mr Lavrov was humiliated by his counterparts after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken initiated a boycott of the traditional family photo.
Several Western leaders followed suit resulting in the cancellation of the historical shot.
The G20 ministers’ meeting in Bali has been overshadowed by the war and its impact on the global economy, with top officials from Western countries and Japan stressing it would not be a “business as usual” event.
Shouts of “When will you stop the war” and “Why don’t you stop the war” were heard as the Russian Foreign Minister shook hands with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi as he arrived for the meeting.
Mr Lavrov said ministers from Western nations “strayed almost immediately, as soon as they took the floor, to the frenzied criticism of the Russian Federation in connection with the situation in Ukraine”.
“‘Aggressors’, ‘invaders’, ‘occupiers’ – we heard a lot of things today,” Mr Lavrov told reporters after the first session of the talks, in which he was seated between representatives from Mexico and Saudi Arabia.
The Russian envoy is expected to leave the summit early, leaving the possibility for a family picture to be taken without him this afternoon.
Russia has maintained it has launched a “special military operation” to degrade the Ukrainian military and root out people it calls dangerous nationalists.
Ukraine and its Western backers say Russia is engaged in an imperial-style land grab. They say Russia has no justification for the invasion.
Mr Retno had called on the G20 to “find a way forward” to address global challenges and said the repercussions of the war, including rising energy and food prices, would hit low-income countries the hardest.
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“He addressed Russia directly, saying: To our Russian colleagues: Ukraine is not your country. Its grain is not your grain. Why are you blocking the ports? You should let the grain out'”, the official said.
Mr Lavrov was not in the room at the time, the official said.
Ukraine has struggled to export goods, with many of its ports blocked as war rages along its southern coast. It is the world’s fourth-largest grain exporter.
Mr Lavrov told reporters later Russia was ready to negotiate with Ukraine and Turkey about grain but it is unclear when such talks might take place.