Russian foreign minister laughs off report of ‘hospitalisation’

Lavrov blames Western media for ‘some kind of game’ as he denies reports he was taken to hospital in Indonesia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has dismissed a report that was taken to hospital with a heart condition, scolding Western journalists for what he cast as false reporting.

The Associated Press (AP) news agency, citing Indonesian officials, said on Monday that Lavrov had been taken to hospital after arriving on the island of Bali for a Group of 20 summit.

AP said Lavrov, 72, had been treated for a heart condition.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova posted a video to her Telegram feed of Lavrov with her, where they are shown to be laughing after several media reported that he was in the hospital.

“We’re here with Sergey Viktorovich [Lavrov] in Indonesia, reading the wires and we can’t believe our eyes,” Zakharova said.

“It’s the highest level of fake.”

In the video, Lavrov is seen in a T-shirt with a design of the late American artist Jean Michel Basquiat and shorts, and is wearing an Apple watch.

Lavrov is attending the G20 summit on behalf of Russia after President Vladimir Putin announced last week that he would not attend the Bali meeting virtually.

In the Telegram video, Russia’s top diplomat claimed the reports were part of “some kind of game” that he blamed on Western media.

“They’ve been writing for about 10 years that our president is sick,” Lavrov said.

Bali’s Governor Wayan Koster told the Reuters news agency that Lavrov had visited the hospital for a check-up and that he was in good health.

Putin’s health has been the subject of speculation for many years, with a section of Western media suggesting he has cancer or Parkinson’s disease.

The Kremlin denies the 70-year-old has any serious health problems.

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