- Lavrov denied the Associated Press report
- AP: Lavrov was treated for a heart attack
- Bali Governor: Lavrov is in good health, checked in hospital
NUSA DUA, Indonesia, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday dismissed news agency reports that he had been taken to hospital with a heart attack and slammed Western journalists for false reporting.
Lavrov was taken to hospital after arriving on the island of Bali for the 20th summit, the Associated Press quoted Indonesian officials as saying. Lavrov, 72, was treated for a heart condition, the AP said.
Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that this is, of course, the height of fakeness.
Zakharova posted a video of Lavrov, President Vladimir Putin’s foreign minister since 2004, sitting outside on a patio, wearing shorts and a T-shirt, reading a document.
Asked about the report, Lavrov said Western journalists were falsely writing that Putin, 70, was ill.
“This is a kind of game that is not new in politics,” Lavrov said with an ironic laugh. “Western journalists need to be more truthful – they need to write the truth.”
Lavrov, who arrived in Bali on Sunday evening, said the Western media routinely take a partial view of events and ignore Russia’s point of view.
Bali Governor I Wayne Koster told Reuters that Lavrov had made a brief visit to Bali’s Sanglah Hospital for a “check-up” but that the minister was in good health.
“He was in good health and left soon after examination,” the governor said.
The Associated Press said it stood by its story.
“To be clear, the AP never said Lavrov was ‘hospitalized,'” said Lauren Easton, AP vice president of corporate communications.
“We reported that he was taken to the hospital and counted the number of sources that provided that information.”
Lavrov is Russia’s longest-serving foreign minister since Soviet times, when Andrei Gromyko, nicknamed “Mr. Nyat” in the West for his uncompromising approach, held the post for 28 years.
A graduate of the prestigious Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Lavrov speaks fluent English and French and also speaks Sinhalese, having served as a Soviet diplomat in Sri Lanka.
Prior to becoming Foreign Minister, Lavrov served as Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
Sometimes known by the nickname “Dr. No” in West, he is known for his acerbic remarks, especially about interviewees he considers poorly prepared.
Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Putin repeatedly denied US and British claims that he was preparing for an invasion.
After the West imposed the harshest sanctions on Russia in modern history, Lavrov said Moscow would distance itself from the United States and its allies and instead expand ties with countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Reported by Reuters; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge, Kevin Liffey and Gareth Jones
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