Russia’s foreign minister was taken to hospital with a heart condition just hours after arriving in Indonesia for the G20 summit, which begins tomorrow.
Sergei Lavrov, 72, was pictured departing a Russian plane in Bali late Sunday night and was taken to hospital Monday, according to local officials.
Shortly after, the diplomat released photos and videos of himself just moments after news on his ill-health broke, showing him sitting by his hotel pool ahead of the conference.
Grinning at the camera he accused Western media of lying about his health, adding that: ‘This is a kind of game that is not new in politics. They’ve been writing for about 10 years that our president is sick.’
Lavrov is attending the G20 in place of Russian president Vladimir Putin who opted not to go following his bungled invasion of Ukraine.
The Kremlin says Putin is ‘too busy’ to attend but political analysts in Russia have speculated that he is afraid of being humiliated or assassinated.
Alexei Malashenko, chief researcher at the Dialogue of Civilisations Institute, said Putin did not want to be publicly humiliated once again, recalling that at the Brisbane summit in 2014 Putin was placed at the far flank of the ‘family photo’.
‘At the summit, you have to talk to people and be photographed,’ said Malashenko.
‘And who is he going to talk to and how exactly will he be photographed?’