G20 leaders’ photo to be scrapped amid tension over Ukraine war

Western leaders have unanimously condemned Moscow over conflict and will be reluctant to be pictured with any Russian representative

Leaders of the G20 throw coins inside the Trevi Fountain during an event in Rome in 2021. Getty
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The so-called family photo in which world leaders pose together at major international summits in a display of power and unity looks set to be scrapped at the coming Group of 20 summit.

In a sign of the geopolitical tension caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Indonesian hosts of next week’s G20 summit are understood to have scrapped the group photo opportunity.

President Vladimir Putin is expected to skip the Bali gathering of the leaders of the world’s biggest economies and send Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in his place.

Western leaders have unanimously condemned Moscow over the war and they will be reluctant to be formally pictured with any Russian representative at the G20 summit, the first since the invasion began in February.

Mr Putin’s decision not to attend is seen by British officials as a sign of weakness because he is unwilling to face confrontation, as his military offensive suffers continued setbacks.

The summit, which brings together the leaders of 19 nations and the European Union, is expected to be dominated by the conflict and its impact on the global economy, having fuelled shortages of energy and food.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will use the two-day event starting on November 15 to “confront” Russian officials with other western allies about the conflict, Downing Street has said.

Mr Sunak, still only weeks into the job, will jet off to the tropical island on Sunday in one of his first major global outings as prime minister, joining US President Joe Biden, France’s President Emmanuel Macron, China’s President Xi Jinping and other world leaders.

Divisions deepened by Russia’s actions in Ukraine mean there is uncertainty over whether member states will be able to release a traditional joint statement at the end of the Bali summit.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is set to address the event via video link, although his country is not part of the group.

Updated: November 11, 2022, 10:40 PM
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