The British prime minister Rishi Sunak is travelling to Bali on Sunday afternoon for a summit of the G20 – the world’s biggest economies.
British officials had prepared for this get-together assuming Russia’s president would be there.
The prime minister was expected to join other world leaders in condemning Vladimir Putin to his face.
But Moscow said last week he wouldn’t be attending and the Kremlin would be sending Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, instead.
So the words of anger will be directed at him.
Speaking before setting off for Indonesia, the prime minister said: “Putin’s war has caused devastation around the world – destroying lives and plunging the international economy into turmoil.
“This G20 summit will not be business as usual. We will call out Putin’s regime, and lay bare their utter contempt for the kind of international cooperation and respect for sovereignty forums like the G20 represent.”
The G20 is a hotchpotch of countries with little in common beyond big economies.
An economic forum whose members have been hammered, economically, by one of their own, Russia.
So the backdrop is awkward, to say the least.
There won’t even be one of the basic diplomatic niceties of these gatherings this time, what is known as the family photo, where the leaders pose for a group picture.
The other leaders refuse to be seen smiling in the presence of Russia.