Rishi Sunak has said Russia is becoming a “pariah state” as he prepares to “unequivocally condemn” Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine at the G20 summit.
The Prime Minister is in Bali with fellow leaders of the world’s major economies, and plans to use the first summit session on Tuesday to confront Russia’s representative Sergei Lavrov with allies.
President Vladimir Putin was long expected to attend the meeting, but is sending his foreign minister in his place, as he continues to suffer military setbacks and unanimous condemnation from Western powers.
Speaking to reporters travelling with him to Indonesia, Mr Sunak said: “It’s telling that Putin is not there.
“Russia is becoming a pariah state and he’s not there to take responsibility for what he’s doing.”
Asked how he will engage with Mr Lavrov at the summit, the Prime Minister said: “I’m going to take the opportunity to unequivocally condemn the Russian state and Putin for their abhorrent and illegal war.
“I will do that in the hall, I will do that if I see him elsewhere and that’s the right thing to do.”
The G20 leaders’ summit is not only the first since the Kremlin launched its full-scale invasion in February, but the first in the group’s history held in the shadow of a major European war instigated by one of its members.
The gathering looks likely to be dominated by the fallout from the conflict, which has caused and exacerbated global economic woes, driving up food and energy prices worldwide.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is set to address the event virtually.
Asked if he would encourage Kyiv to enter peace talks, Mr Sunak said that is a question for the Ukrainians.
“It’s a bit unfair to say to the Ukrainians: ‘look you should be negotiating’ when your country and your civilian infrastructure is being relentlessly bombed, as it is currently.
“So our job is to continue to help the Ukrainians defend themselves, and put themselves in the strongest possible position, at a time of their choosing, to bring a negotiated settlement.
“But nothing that Russia is doing at the moment would suggest that they are committed or interested in that approach right now.”