Rishi Sunak urges Western countries to ‘unequivocally condemn’ Russia – POLITICO

BALI — Rishi Sunak will urge other Western countries to “unequivocally condemn” Russia at the G20 summit this week amid disagreements among leaders over how hard to take a stance.

The British Prime Minister landed in Bali, Indonesia on Monday evening for the meeting of the G20 leaders of the world’s largest economies. Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, is present on behalf of Vladimir Putin.

Asked by broadcasters how he would approach Lavrov, Sunak said: “I will take this opportunity to unequivocally condemn Russia’s hostile and illegal war in Ukraine. And I know other allies will too, because it’s only right that we shine a light on what’s going on and hold Russia to account.

Over the past year, the British government has been among those pushing the West to take the hardest line on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.

Pressed on whether divisions within the G20 meant there would be no collective condemnation of Russia, Sunak said: “The G20 is a very different forum from the G7, for example. The G7 is a group of like-minded liberal democracies that share similar values. The G20, we must recognize, is a different grouping. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t engage in it.

He added: “We need to raise our voices and work constructively with people where we can, to make a difference for people at home too.”

POLITICO reported over the weekend that Indonesian officials hosting the summit were pushing for Western governments to make concessions on how forcefully they condemn Russia, in order to agree on a joint communiqué.

Some fear G20 leaders will fail to agree on language at the end of the summit due to differences over how to respond to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Plans to take a traditional “family photo” of all G20 participants were also in jeopardy as Western leaders wanted to avoid being photographed next to Lavrov. Indonesian officials are considering the possibility of limiting the photo to heads of state or government in order to exclude the Russian foreign minister.

On Monday, Lavrov dismissed a report that he was taken to hospital upon arriving at the summit, uploading a video of himself in a T-shirt and shorts and accusing Western media of spreading lies.


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