Rishi Sunak has said Russia is becoming a “pariah state” as he prepares to “unequivocally condemn” Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine during the G20 summit.
The prime minister is in Bali with other leaders of major world economies and plans to use Tuesday’s first summit session to confront Russian representative Sergei Lavrov with allies.
President Vladimir Putin was long expected at the meeting but is sending his foreign minister in his place as he continues to suffer military setbacks and unanimous condemnation from Western powers.
Addressing reporters traveling with him to Indonesia, Mr Sunak said: “That means Putin is not here.
“Russia is becoming a pariah state and it’s not here to take responsibility for what it does.”
Asked how he will engage with Mr Lavrov at the summit, the prime minister said: “I will take this opportunity to unequivocally condemn the Russian state and Putin for their heinous and illegal war.
“I’ll do it in the room, I’ll do it if I see it somewhere else and it’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 organized in the shadow of a major European war sparked by the one of its members.
The gathering appears to be dominated by the fallout from the conflict, which has caused and exacerbated global economic woes, driving up food and energy prices around the world.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to address the event virtually.
When asked if he would encourage Kyiv to begin peace talks, Sunak said that was a question for Ukrainians.
“It’s a little unfair to say to Ukrainians, ‘look, you should negotiate’ when your country and your civilian infrastructure is being bombarded relentlessly, as it is now.
“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 reach a negotiated settlement.
“But nothing Russia is doing at the moment suggests that it is engaged or interested in this approach at this time.”