Delegates of the United States and some other Western nations participating in a Group of 20 health chiefs' meeting Monday walked out as a Russian delegate criticized Ukraine over the ongoing war between the two countries.
The U.S., British, Dutch and Australian delegations left the room in protest at Moscow's invasion of Ukraine as Russian deputy health minister Oleg Salagay was speaking at the meeting of the G-20 major economies held in Yogyakarta, an ancient city in central Java, according to an official of the Western countries.
Delegates from France, Germany and Spain who attended the meeting virtually also turned off their screens, the official added.
It is not confirmed if the Japanese deputy health minister participating in the meeting remotely joined the boycott by turning off his screen.
The health ministers have a number of issues on the agenda such as harmonizing COVID-19 protocols and introducing a common QR Code for vaccination certificates.
The ministers will continue the discussion through Tuesday as they will also participate in a joint meeting with the G-20 finance ministers.
The G-20 includes countries opposed to Moscow over its war in Ukraine, as well as China, India and Indonesia, which have not joined Western-led sanctions against Russia over the conflict.