Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be attending the G20 summit in India next month due to his busy schedule and his focus on Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, as confirmed by the Kremlin. Instead, Russia will be represented by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the summit scheduled for September 9-10.
The decision was conveyed during a phone call between Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While Modi expressed his understanding of Putin’s absence, he also acknowledged Russia’s consistent support for India’s initiatives under its G20 presidency.
The Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov noted that Putin’s current priorities are centered around the military situation in Ukraine. The ongoing conflict has been a significant point of contention during India’s G20 presidency, with Western leaders expected to strongly condemn Russia’s actions.
Despite this, India has maintained its relationships with both Russia and the US, avoiding taking sides on the matter. The country has refrained from endorsing UN resolutions condemning the war and has not joined Western-led sanctions.
The G20 summit in India is expected to be the largest gathering of its kind yet. The absence of Putin marks a notable development amid geopolitical tensions. While the Kremlin has not confirmed if Putin will participate in the summit via video link, his recent focus on domestic and international matters suggests his limited travel outside of Russia.
Putin’s decision to address the Brics summit via video link last week, hosted by South Africa, was attributed to an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court.
India, as the G20 host, has invited non-G20 countries like Spain, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and others to maintain an inclusive atmosphere and promote consensus-building on economic matters.
In recent conversations between leaders, including a call with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, discussions surrounding Ukraine’s situation and invitations to the G20 have taken place. Trudeau expressed disappointment over the absence of Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky at the G20, citing the importance of standing with Ukraine on the global stage.
As for Putin, he congratulated Modi on India’s successful lunar exploration mission, showcasing the diplomatic exchanges between the two nations despite the complexities of global affairs.