Putin, Zelensky accept Indonesia’s G-20 invite
The presidents of Russia and Ukraine have accepted invitations from Indonesia, the current chair of the Group of 20, for a big ticket summit in November.
The decision to invite both leaders shows the delicate balance the Southeast Asian country is trying to make as the G-20 host this year. Russia is a member of the G-20, and the countries in the grouping have been divided over their reaction to Moscow for its war in Ukraine.
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo said the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have an impact on the recovery of the global economy and it was in this context that he invited Putin and Zelenskiy to the summit in separate calls with them over the week.
“I expressed my hope that the war can end soon and a peaceful solution through talks can progress,” he said in a speech. “We understand that G-20 can be a catalyst for global economic recovery.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to say whether Putin would attend in person. While Russia is preparing for the summit in Bali, it’s “premature” to discuss details of its participation, he told reporters on a conference call Friday, responding to questions about the possibility of a meeting with Zelenskiy there.
So far Putin has declined to meet with Zelenskiy even as the Ukrainian leader says it’s the only way to end the war. Talks for a temporary cease-fire have struggled for traction and there’s been no significant progress on a broader peace deal.
The U.S. and some allies have been pressing Indonesia to extend an invitation to Ukraine, frustrated at Jakarta’s refusal to exclude Putin. The host nation typically invites leaders from a handful of non G-20 states to attend as observers, though they don’t sit in on formal meetings.
Russia has been heavily sanctioned by some G-20 states for its war in Ukraine, and leaders including U.S. President Joe Biden would be unlikely to sit at the same table as Putin if he joined the meeting. Biden has said he would support Russia being evicted from the G-20 entirely, although other members like China have opposed that.
Russia was evicted from the smaller Group of Eight following Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
“Indonesia wants to unite the G-20. Don’t let there be division,” Widodo said. “Peace and stability are the keys to the global economy’s recovery and development.”
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