Nusa Dua, Indonesia – Was a skunk at the tropical resort party and was scorned by many, but not all.
Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei V. Lavrov, attended a meeting of G20 finance ministers in Bali on Friday, despite his country’s pariah status in Europe and beyond due to its brutal war in Ukraine.
Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken interviewed him, as did many other Western officials. Few would even agree to pose with him for the usual photo shoot.
But in a reflection of why Russia’s economy continues to function, Mr. Lavrov met directly with several ministers from major countries that refused to join the Western-led coalition against his country, including China, India, Brazil, Turkey and Argentina. and Indonesia.
In remarks at a plenary session focused on food and energy insecurity, Mr. Blinken made an indirect target of Mr. Lavrov and his colleagues in Moscow, renewing accusations that Russia’s Black Sea blockade of Ukraine’s ports was preventing the export of vital grain supplies.
“To our Russian colleagues: Ukraine is not your country,” Mr. Blinkin said. “Her grain is not your grain. Why are you blocking the ports? You should let the grain out.” He noted that the United States has allocated more than $5 billion to address the problem.
A Western official said Lavrov was not present for Mr. Blinkin’s remarks, having withdrew shortly before the Ukrainian foreign minister spoke earlier in the session, leaving the turn to speak to a subordinate who said she had not prepared notes. Lavrov also withdrew from the previous group session during the German Foreign Minister’s statements.
But in remarks to reporters, the famous Russian diplomat was a defiant sarcasm.
Mr. Lavrov said that “blatant fear of Russia” was allowing Western countries to harm the global economy with sanctions against his country, and blamed the United States for the breakdown of diplomacy between Washington and Moscow.
The Russian diplomat said Western countries such as the United States were acting against the G-20 mission of promoting global economic health by maintaining their massive sanctions on his country.
“The fact that they are not using the G20 to achieve the goal for which it was established is obvious,” he said.
Developed the Treasury penalties for Mr. Lavrov immediately after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, calling him “directly responsible” for the military offensive.
On Friday, he dismissed any notion that he was disappointed not to speak with Mr. Blinken, whom he last spoke to during a mid-January meeting in Geneva and which US officials saw as a last-ditch effort to avert an invasion.
“It was not we who gave up all contacts, but the United States,” said Lavrov. And we don’t run after anyone who proposes meetings. If they don’t want to talk, that’s their choice. I didn’t think it was necessary to start any confrontation.”
Lavrov also took the opportunity on Friday to humiliate British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a day after Mr Johnson announced he would resign. Johnson had led one of the West’s most aggressive responses to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“They were trying to set up this new alliance – the UK, the Baltic states, Poland and Ukraine,” Lavrov said, calling it an attempt to create an “English bridge on the continent” after Brexit.
“They were saying that NATO isolated Russia,” Lavrov said. It was his party that fired Boris Johnson.
India’s Foreign Minister, Subramaniam Jaishankar, who was seen walking around and talking with Mr. Lavrov across the luxury hotel that hosted the gathering, He said on Twitter He and Mr. Lavrov “exchanged views on contemporary regional and international issues, including the conflict in Ukraine and Afghanistan.” India has friendly relations with Moscow, a longtime sponsor and exporter of arms sales, and has helped Russia bypass sanctions by increasing its purchases of Russian oil, at a significant discount.
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