With Indonesia's preparation for the 17th G20 Heads of State and Government Summit now in full swing, a series of bilateral meetings were held this week ahead of the November summit in Bali. Foreign ministers attended in person, leading to some tense moments given Russia's representation, after President Vladimir Putin has recently confirmed that he'll participate in November, though it's still unclear if this will be virtually or in person.
High on the agenda has been global food, energy, and fertilizer supplies, as "The Ukraine war was discussed at almost all bilateral meetings at this week's G20 event, where some participants condemned Russia's invasion and urged an immediate end to hostilities through diplomacy and talks, Indonesia's foreign minister said on Friday," according to Reuters.
"Retno Marsudi, in remarks as chair of the gathering in Bali, praised G20 counterparts for attending in person amid global tensions over the impacts of the Ukraine war, decisions she said should not be taken lightly," the report adds.
During a G20 foreign ministers meeting on Friday, wherein Western countries offered scathing criticism of Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, Russian FM Sergei Lavrov stormed out of the talks. In a press briefing afterwards, he made his criticisms known:
"Our Western partners are trying to avoid talking about global economic issues," Lavrov told reporters outside the Mulia hotel. "From the moment they speak, they launch into fevered criticism of Russia."
He added, "During the discussion, the Western partners avoided to follow the mandate of the Group of Twenty to address the global economy issues, and to reach agreements to find solutions related to sustainable development within the UN, and lost their train of thought once they started to criticize Russia amid the situation in Ukraine."
He described that his counterparts in the meeting refused to answer several "hard-hitting questions" he offered to the group. Instead, "They have no answers to these questions, there is only blatant russophobia, which they substitute for the necessity to negotiate key problems in the global economy and finance," Lavrov said.
Despite being at the same event and in the same vicinity, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has shunned the potential for a meeting with his Russian counterpart in Bali.
VIDEO: 'Why did you start the war?': question asked as Russia's Lavrov attends G20 meeting pic.twitter.com/IXGjAMpP7M— AFP News Agency (@AFP) July 8, 2022
Earlier this week The Hill cited State Department spokesman Ned Price who said the "time is not right" for bilateral engagement with Russia - this just before Lavrov and Blinken arrived in Indonesia ahead of meetings Thursday.
The Russian side also confirmed, "Nothing is being planned," and that "Given the circumstances, existing contacts via embassies and sporadic telephone calls are quite enough for us to work in detail on current issues," according to the Kremlin statement.
Additionally, Lavrov was also shunned when it came to the traditional 'family photo' of foreign ministers, as Politico detailed:
Foreign ministers of the G20 countries, who are meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali this week, did not take a customary group photo, after several Western leaders reportedly refused to be pictured with Russia’s Sergey Lavrov over his country’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to a report by Japanese news agency Kyodo, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken initiated the boycott of the traditional family photo, and was joined by his G7 colleagues. Western diplomats also refused to go to a dinner event on Thursday evening because Lavrov was attending, Kyodo reported. Retno Marsudi, Indonesia’s foreign minister, said the host nation understood and respected the decision, Reuters reported.
⚡️ Lavrov leaves G20 summit due to boycott, - Der Spiegel.— Flash (@Flash43191300) July 8, 2022
The foreign ministers of the G20 countries at the Indonesian summit decided to ignore Lavrov. First, the diplomats refused to take a photo with him, and then the ministers of the G7 countries missed the official dinner. pic.twitter.com/tOlgnAgLpE
In November, Putin is due for an icy reception at the G20, which strongly suggests he's unlikely to actually travel to Bali, despite a personal invitation from Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also been invited, and has confirmed he'll at least be addressing the summit virtually.