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President Putin won’t personally attend G20 Summit in India, announces Russia

Aug 25, 2023 11:15 PM IST

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, asked about President Putin’s in-person participation in the G20 Summit in India, said: “No, the President has no such plans.”

Russia announced on Friday that President Vladimir Putin will not personally attend the G20 Summit to be hosted by India next month, ending swirling speculation in diplomatic circles about his presence at the meeting.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Vladimir Saldo, Moscow-installed acting leader of the Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine's Kherson region, in Moscow on August 24 (via REUTERS)
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Vladimir Saldo, Moscow-installed acting leader of the Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine's Kherson region, in Moscow on August 24 (via REUTERS)

Putin has skipped multilateral meetings since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and virtually participated in the Brics (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) Summit in Johannesburg this week. He also did not attend the 2021 G20 Summit in Rome over Covid-19-related concerns and last year’s G20 Summit in Bali in the face of Western criticism of the Ukraine crisis.

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Asked by Russian media about Putin’s in-person participation in the G20 Summit in New Delhi during September 9-10, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “No, the President has no such plans.”

The format of Putin’s participation will be determined later, Peskov said. Pointing to Putin’s virtual participation in the Brics Summit remotely, he said: “Well...now he really has a busy schedule. And of course, the main focus is still the special military operation. So direct travel is not on the agenda right now.”

India has invited all the G20 leaders and heads of nine guest countries to the summit. External affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi recently said New Delhi expects all these leaders to attend the summit.

Over the past few weeks, Putin’s participation in the G20 Summit has been the subject of intense speculation in diplomatic circles in New Delhi. As recently as last month, people familiar with the matter had put the chances of Putin’s participation as “50-50”. A Russian advance team visited New Delhi earlier this month to assess preparations for the summit.

However, reports over the past few days that the Russian side had decided to book fewer rooms for its delegation at The Oberoi Hotel fuelled speculation that Putin might skip the summit.

Peskov also told state-run TASS news agency that a decision on how Russia will be represented at the G20 Summit is still being worked on. Asked if foreign minister Sergey Lavrov could represent the Russian delegation, Peskov replied: “The issue of participation is being worked on. As soon as a decision is made, we will let you know.”

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