Russian Lavrov is a pariah in the G20 tournament, but only for some

NUSA DUA, Indonesia. He looked like a skunk at a tropical resort party, which was avoided by many, though by no means all.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday attended a meeting of G20 finance ministers of the industrialized countries in Bali, despite his country’s status in Europe and elsewhere due to the brutal war in Ukraine. His country’s invasion of a neighboring country prompted two central topics for discussion at the annual event: global disruptions in food and energy supplies.

Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken declined to meet with Mr. Lavrov, as did several other Western foreign ministers. So many participants refused to pose with a senior Moscow diplomat that the usual group photo was cancelled.

But pondering why Russia is still able to deal with the outside world and finance its ruthless war machine, Mr. Lavrov met with several ministers from countries that have refused to join the Western-led coalition against his country. Among them were diplomats from China, India, Brazil, Turkey, Argentina and Indonesia.

mr. Lavrov’s activities were one of several dramatic storylines at the G20 meeting, also overshadowed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Thursday announcement that he plans to step down and Friday’s assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. mr. Blinken called it “shocking” and “a loss to the world”.

The meeting ended without the traditional joint communiqué expressing common goals, which is impossible given that Russia would have to sign any such document.

mr. Blinken indirectly targeted his Russian counterpart during a plenary session on food and energy security, resuming Western accusations that the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea is hindering the export of grain and other agricultural products, causing shortages and rising prices around the world.

“To our Russian colleagues: Ukraine is not your country,” he said. Blinken said. “His grain is not your grain. Why are you blocking ports? You must release the grain.” He noted that the United States has provided more than $5 billion to address the problem, while Russia has provided less than 0.02 percent of all donations to the UN World Food Program.

mr. However, Lavrov did not listen. According to a Western official who was in the hall, he only briefly appeared at the meeting and delegated the role of the official representative of Russia to an unprepared subordinate.

Earlier, Mr. Lavrov walked out of the group meeting during sharp remarks about Ukraine by German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock, according to Western officials.

Later in his speeches to reporters, the scathing Russian diplomat was anything but intimidated, insisting that he liked moral superiority.

mr. Lavrov said “overt Russophobia” is causing Western countries to persecute Russia, and their sanctions are causing collateral damage to the global economy. He said the United States and other Western countries prioritize harming Russia above the G20’s mission to promote global economic health.

“The fact that they are not using the G20 for the purpose for which it was created is obvious,” he said.

mr. Lavrov appears to have dismissed a proposal to create a maritime corridor for Ukrainian grain exports, calling it a NATO plot to bring its warships into the Black Sea. And he rejected any notion that he was disappointed that he did not associate with Mr. Wilson. Blinken, with whom he last spoke during a mid-January meeting in Geneva that American officials saw as a last-ditch effort to prevent an invasion. The Ministry of Finance posted sanctions against mr. Lavrov a few weeks later, calling him “directly responsible” for the attack in February. 24 military invasion.

“It’s not us who have cut off all contact, it’s the United States,” he said. Lavrov announced this on Friday. “And we don’t go after anyone who offers meetings. If they don’t want to talk, that’s their choice.”

mr. Lavrov also took the opportunity to humiliate Mr. Johnson a day after he said he would step down for a new leader. mr. Johnson has led one of the most aggressive Western reactions to the Russian invasion by strongly backing the Ukrainian government.

“They were trying to create this new alliance – the UK, the Baltic states, Poland and Ukraine,” he said. Lavrov called it an attempt to create “an English foothold on the continent” after the UK left the European Union.

“They said NATO isolated Russia,” he said. Lavrov said. “It was his party that isolated Boris Johnson.”

News Mr. Johnson’s planned resignation resulted in his Foreign Secretary and potential successor, Liz Truss, returning to London and missing Friday’s program.

While Mr. Lavrov’s mockery of Mr. Johnson and the West was not supported by the other participants, it was clear that American and European views on Russia and Ukraine did not represent a consensus among ministers in Bali.

In his opening remarks as the host of the event, the Indonesian Foreign Minister stepped away from Western rhetoric, saying that the growing food and energy shortages make the world responsible for ending the war as soon as possible and resolving our differences at the negotiating table, not on the battlefield.” US and European officials have generally tried to avoid the impression that they are forcing Ukraine into peace talks with Mr. Trump. Putin, who they doubt would negotiate in good faith.

While Mr. Lavrov may be banned from the US and the European Union, he roamed freely around the luxury hotel hosting the Bali meeting, which opened on Thursday.

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar seen walking and chatting with Mr. Jaishankar. Lavrov through the hotel lobby, said on Twitter that he and Mr. Lavrov “exchanged views” on issues such as the “Ukrainian conflict” and Afghanistan. India has friendly relations with Moscow, a longtime patron and source of arms sales. It also helped Russia survive the sanctions by increasing its purchases of Russian oil, taking advantage of a significant discount offered by Moscow.

US officials were disappointed by these purchases and sought to remove India from the influence of Moscow and abandon one’s neutral position about the war in Ukraine. But in comments prior to the meeting with Mr. Jaishankar, Mr. Blinken had an entirely positive tone, calling India “an excellent partner for the United States” on a range of issues.

mr. Blinken is likely to step up economic support for Russia during a scheduled meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Saturday. Like India, China has increased its purchases of Russian oil at a discount to help Mr. Trump. Putin maintains a solid oil income despite punitive sanctions.

But US officials said that M. Blinken, who did not see Mr. Wang will also stress the importance of maintaining open lines of communication with Beijing and cooperation in areas of mutual interest, such as climate and global health, from October.

At the end of the working day on Friday, Mr. Blinken held a joint meeting with the foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea and expressed his shock at this. Abe’s murder, which he described as “deeply disturbing”.

“For the United States, Prime Minister Abe was an outstanding partner and someone who was clearly a great leader for Japan, the Japanese people, but also admired as a global leader and someone who really forged relations between our countries during his time in office. , the United States and Japan to new heights,” he said.