Real-time updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken plans to avoid appearing in any official group photos with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Bali this week and will seek to debunk his Russian counterparts’ false stories about the war in Ukraine, according to a spokesman. The US is familiar with this issue.

For weeks, the United States and its G-7 allies — all of them in the G20 — have been debating how to approach Lavrov’s presence at meetings of the world’s top 20 economies in Bali, according to U.S. and European diplomats familiar with the talks.

Many different ideas were discussed, including attempts by UK officials to boycott the meetings entirely, but that strategy was ultimately not implemented, a UK official said.

According to US officials, Blinken has no plans at this time to engage in any staged strike with allies. Part of the calculation, the official said, is that the Biden administration wants to defy Russia, not give it the floor.

Another part of the calculation is the fact that the US doesn’t want to embarrass the Indonesians hosting the event, the official said, calling it a “delicate balancing act.”

The US wants to be seen as acting in unison with its G7 allies, diplomats say. That may change, however, as the US is still “customizing” its approach and will need to respond depending on what happens during the meetings, the official said.

This will be the first time Blinken and Lavrov have been in the same place since Russia invaded Ukraine, and Blinken’s approach to his Russian counterpart could portend how President Joe Biden could approach President Vladimir Putin later this year if the two leaders will attend the G20 leaders’ summit. .