Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend a gathering of leaders from the Group of 20 (G20) nations in person next week but may join virtually, officials from Russia and the host country Indonesia said on Thursday.
Indonesia has resisted pressure from western countries to withdraw its invitation to Putin and expel Russia from the group over the war in Ukraine, saying it does not have the authority to do so without consensus among members.
Putin might take part by video conference though “the format of (his) participation is being worked out,” Russia’s state news agency RIA reported, citing a diplomat in the Russian embassy in Indonesia.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will represent Putin on the ground at the meeting on the island of Bali, the officials said.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo had been trying to mediate between global powers ahead of what will be the first meeting of leaders from the group since Russia invaded Ukraine in what Putin calls a “special military operation.”
“(The president) has tried to ensure that everyone cools down and that seems to be happening now,” Luhut Pandjaitan, the Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment Affairs, told reporters in Bali.
The president told the Financial Times this week 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 meant to be about economics and development,” he was quoted as saying.
Indonesia has also invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has said he will not take part if Putin does and was expected to join virtually.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to join other world leaders at the summit which starts on Nov. 15.