JAKARTA (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the G20 summit in Bali next week, Indonesian and Russian officials said on Thursday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is said to be Putin’s deputy.
The Russian president will virtually participate in one of the meetings at the summit, said Jodi Mahardi, spokesman for Indonesia’s Minister for Coordinating Maritime and Investment Affairs.
As G20 host country, Indonesia resists pressure from Western powers and Ukraine to withdraw Putin’s invitation from the summit, expel Russia from the group over war in Ukraine, and do so without consensus among members. He said he had no authority.
A spokesman for the Russian embassy in Indonesia confirmed that Putin will not attend the summit, but offered no further explanation.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo was trying to mediate geopolitical friction between the G20 forces. This year’s conference included threats of strikes and boycotts triggered by tensions over aggression, in what Russia calls “special operations.”
“(The president) has been trying to keep everyone calm, and it seems to be happening right now,” Coordinating Minister for Shipping and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan told Balinese local media.
The president, popularly known as Jokowi, said in a recent interview with the Financial Times that Russia was welcome at the summit, but he said he was overshadowed by a “very worrying” rise in international tensions. I was afraid that it would fade.
“The G20 is not a political forum. It’s about economy and development,” he was quoted as saying.
Indonesia has also invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but President Zelensky said he would not attend if President Putin did, and was effectively expected to attend.
Many other world leaders, including US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, are expected to attend the summit, which begins on November 15.
Reporting in Jakarta by Ananda Theresia, Gayatri Suroyo and Stanley Widianto. Written by Ed Davies. Edited by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Lincoln Feast and Gerry Doyle
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