Vladimir Putin will not attend G20 summit in Bali, Indonesian official says

Vladimir Putin will not attend a gathering of leaders from the G20 nations in Bali next week, according to an Indonesian government official.

Russia’s president will be represented by foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, Jodi Mahardi, a spokesperson for the coordinating minister for maritime and investment affairs, said.

Moscow’s embassy in Indonesia confirmed that Putin would not attend.

“I can confirm that (foreign minister) Sergei Lavrov will lead the Russian delegation to the G20. President Putin’s program is still being worked out, he could participate virtually,” said Yulia Tomskaya, the embassy’s chief of protocol.

As G20 host, Indonesia has resisted pressure from western countries and Ukraine to withdraw its invitation to Putin from the leaders summit and expel Russia from the group over the war in Ukraine, saying it does not have the authority to do so without consensus among members.

Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, in an interview with the Financial Times said Russia was welcome at the summit, which he feared would be overshadowed by a “very worrying” rise in international tensions.

“The G20 is not meant to be a political forum. It’s meant to be about economics and development,” he was quoted as saying. Indonesia has also invited Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who has said he would not take part if Putin does and was expected to join virtually.

A number of other world leaders are due to attend the summit that starts on 15 November, including the US president, Joe Biden, and China’s president, Xi Jinping.

Biden, who has called Putin a “war criminal”, has previously said he had no intention of meeting Putin at the summit if he attended.

The decision, which follows months of speculation, comes as Moscow is suffering losses in its Ukraine campaign and as the Kremlin tries to shield itself from western condemnation at the summit.

Russia on Wednesday ordered its troops to withdraw from the city of Kherson in southern Ukraine in a further setback in the face of Kyiv’s counter-offensive.

In August, an adviser to Indonesia’s president said both Putin and Xi were expected to attend the summit.

At a meeting of G20 foreign ministers in July, Lavrov staged a walkout after telling his counterparts that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was not responsible for a global hunger crisis and that sanctions designed to isolate Russia amounted to a declaration of war.

That gathering had been Lavrov’s first direct confrontation with leaders from the west since Russia mounted its attack on Ukraine, and he accused the west of frenzied criticism of what he claimed were Moscow’s justified actions.


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