Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was brought to a hospital in Bali for a heart issue before of the G20 conference, according to an allegation denied by the top Kremlin official as Western media making up stories.
The 72-year-old Russian envoy visited Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar after arriving on the Indonesian island on Sunday, according to numerous Indonesian officials.
“Of course, this is the most blatant forgery,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said of the Associated Press account.
Zakharova shared a video on her Telegram channel of a seemingly healthy Lavrov reading documents while sitting outside on a patio in shorts and a T-shirt.
Asked about the report, Lavrov claimed Western journalists have been spreading false rumors about President Vladimir Putin’s health for a decade.
“This is a kind of game that is not new in politics,” Lavrov said. “Western journalists need to be more truthful — they need to write the truth.”
Lavrov said Western media routinely took a partial view of events and ignored Russia’s point of view.
Russia’s state news agency Tass separately cited Lavrov as saying: “I’m in the hotel, reading materials for the summit tomorrow.” The outlet also released a photo that appeared to show the minister smiling in front of a pool in Bali.
Bali Governor Wayan Koster told Reuters that Lavrov had briefly visited the hospital for a “check-up” but that the minister was in good health.
“He was in good health and after the check-up he immediately left,” the governor said.
Four Indonesian government and medical officials told the Associated Press that Lavrov was treated at the Sanglah Hospital.
All of the officials declined to be identified as they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. Two of the people said Lavrov had been treated for a heart condition.
Lavrov is the highest-ranking Russian official at the G20 meeting, which also includes President Biden, China’s Xi Jinping, and other world leaders.
Putin’s participation in the G20, which begins on Tuesday, had been in doubt until last week, when the Kremlin confirmed he would not be attending and that Russia would be represented by Lavrov instead.
Since 2004, Lavrov has served as Putin’s foreign minister, making him Russia’s longest-serving top diplomat since the Soviet era.