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G20 Summit: Russian President Putin To Not Attend The Event In Person, Confirms Russian Embassy

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Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be present in person for the G20 summit in the Indonesian province of Bali next week, said the Russian embassy in Indonesia on Thursday. 

Yulia Tomskaya, the chief of protocol at the embassy, said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will represent the Russian president. Tomskaya added that Putin is still deciding if he will join one of the meetings virtually.

G20 is a summit of leaders from a group of 20 nations. 

Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, also confirmed Putin’s absence from the event. Pandjaitan is helping to coordinate the summit. He said the Russian President would be represented by “senior officials.”

Putin’s decision not to attend the G20 summit would keep him away from the accusations and bitter confrontation with world leaders over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The summit will happen only a few days after Russia announced the withdrawal of its forces from Kherson, one of four Ukrainian regions, that Putin had earlier planned to annex. 

The Western countries as well as Ukraine have pressurized Indonesia, this year’s host of the G20 Summit, to condemn Russia more strongly and even withdraw its invitation to the country. 

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, western countries have seen Russia and Putin as an outcast at the global level. 

Attending the conference is US Vice President Joe Biden, who stated in March that Russia should be expelled from the G20, a multilateral grouping of 19 of the world’s biggest nations and the European Union. When Russian delegates are present, senior officials of Biden’s administration have left G20 events.

Biden refused to meet Putin face-to-face in Bali, saying there seems to be no good reason for such a meeting, in a special interview last month. He, however, said that it would “depend on specifically what he wanted to talk about.” The US president said that he would only talk to Putin if the latter is interested in discussing the jailed American basketball star Brittney Griner. 

Indonesia has rejected calls to single out Russia and has made an effort to maintain its impartiality. Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, has been invited as a guest to the conference.

According to Zelensky, Ukraine won’t attend the G20 summit if Putin does. The Ukrainian President is anticipated to participate electronically in the meetings.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, an ally of Putin whom he met in Uzbekistan in September, is expected to attend the summit. At the event, Xinping would meet Biden for the first time since the American President took office nearly two years ago.

China has not officially confirmed Xi’s attendance at the event or whether he would meet with Biden. But on Wednesday, Biden told a news conference at the White House following the midterm elections that he will be having talks with Xi in Bali.

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