Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend next week’s Group of Twenty (G20) leaders’ meeting on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, Indonesian and Russian officials said Thursday.
Instead, Putin will be represented by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the officials said.
The Russian president will participate virtually in one of the summit’s meetings, said Jodi Mahardi, spokesman for Indonesia’s coordinating minister of maritime affairs and investment.
As host of the G20, Indonesia has resisted pressure from Western countries and Ukraine to withdraw its invitation to Putin from the summit and expel Russia from the group over the war in Ukraine, claiming it has no authority to do so without members’ consensus.
A spokesman for the Russian embassy in Indonesia confirmed Putin would not attend the summit, but gave no further explanation.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo tried to mediate geopolitical frictions between the G20 powers. This year’s meetings included abandonments and boycott threats sparked by tensions over the invasion, which Russia calls a “special military operation.”
“(The president) has tried to calm everyone down and that seems to be happening now,” Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan told local media in Bali.
The president, popularly known as Jokowi, said in a recent interview with the Financial Times that 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 about economics and development,” he said.
Indonesia also invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who has said he would not participate if Putin does and is expected to attend virtually.
Other world leaders are scheduled to attend the Nov. 15 summit, including U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
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