Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the Group of 20 leaders’ summit in Bali next week, according to the Russian embassy in Indonesia.
According to Yulia Tomskaya, the embassy’s chief of protocol, Putin will be represented by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Putin, according to Tomskaya, is still deciding whether to attend one of the meetings virtually.
Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, has also stated that Putin will not attend. Pandjaitan, who is assisting in the summit’s coordination, stated that the Russian President would be represented by “senior officials.”
Putin’s decision to skip the G20 summit saves him the embarrassment of being confronted by other world leaders over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The meeting comes just days after the Kremlin announced that Russian forces would withdraw from a large swath of Kherson, one of four Ukrainian regions Putin previously stated Russia intended to annex in violation of international law.
In the run-up to the summit, Western countries and Ukraine pressed Indonesia, the G20 host, to increase its condemnation of Moscow and withdraw its invitation to Putin. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, Western democracies have treated Russia and Putin as pariahs on the international stage.
US President Joe Biden, who is attending the summit, stated in March that Russia should be kicked out of the G20, a multilateral organization comprised of 19 major economies and the European Union.
Senior members of Biden’s administration have walked out of G20 meetings attended by Russian delegates.
During an exclusive interview last month, Biden was asked if he would meet Putin one-on-one in Bali and said there was no reason, but it would “depend on specifically what he wanted to talk about.”
Biden said he would be willing to talk with Putin about the imprisoned American basketball player Brittney Griner.
Jakarta has resisted pressure to single out Russia, preferring to remain neutral. It has invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a guest to the summit.
Ukraine will not attend the G20 summit if Putin attends, according to Zelensky. The Ukrainian President is expected to participate virtually in the meetings.
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