Russia’s Putin to skip G20

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will represent President Vladimir Putin at the key gathering of leading economies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the G20 summit of world leaders next week [File: Sergei Savostyanov/pool via Reuters]

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the G20 summit of world leaders in Bali, Indonesia, next week.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will lead the Russian delegation at the summit, the first gathering of leaders of the world’s biggest economies since Putin launched his war in Ukraine.

Moscow’s embassy in Indonesia told the AFP news agency that Putin’s programme was “still being worked out” and the Russian leader could participate in the two-day summit that starts on September 15 virtually.

An Indonesian government official earlier told the Reuters news agency that Lavrov would represent Putin and the president would join one of the summit’s meetings virtually.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo earlier this week told the Financial Times he had a “strong impression” Putin would skip the gathering.

The G20 summit, which brings together the leaders of 19 countries and the European Union, is expected to be dominated by the fallout of the Ukraine war, which has fuelled global shortages of food and fuel.

Indonesia, the host of the summit, has rejected calls by Western countries and Ukraine to exclude Russia, pledging to maintain neutrality and highlighting the potential for cooperation on food and energy security.

Widodo has lamented geopolitical tensions surrounding the summit, which he has said is supposed to focus on economic development and is “not meant to be a political forum”.

At the United Nations General Assembly last month, 16 members of the G20 backed a resolution condemning Moscow’s attempted annexation of four regions of eastern Ukraine. G20 members China, India and South Africa abstained in the vote, while the European Union is not represented at the UN body.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has also been invited to the summit, previously said he would not attend if Putin joined the gathering.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and United States President Joe Biden are among the world leaders expected to travel to the gathering.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies