Putin Won’t Attend G-20: Russian President Vladimir Putin is not expected to attend the upcoming G-20 summit in Indonesia, according to a report by Bloomberg and several other outlets. The decision was reportedly made to ensure that Putin doesn’t have an uncomfortable confrontation with Western leaders as he pushes ahead with his war in Ukraine.
According to sources familiar with the matter, the Kremlin aims to protect Putin from high-level tensions over the invasion, and to ensure that the Russian president does not find himself in a situation whereby he must meet with, talk to, or be in the company of U.S. President Joe Biden.
While it’s obvious that any kind of meeting between Putin and Western leaders would be awkward, it’s essential to consider why the Russian president wants to avoid the tension.
Much more than Putin simply feeling uncomfortable, his attendance at the G-20 would draw a huge amount of media attention. Meeting with world leaders or even being lectured over the conflict could embarrass the Russian leader and hurt him domestically.
The two-day event will take place in Bali, Indonesia, on November 15 and 16. It will be an opportunity for world leaders to discuss pressing global matters, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the impacts of the invasion, and the global economic crisis.
Sergei Lavrov Will Attend G-20 Instead
While Putin may not attend the summit himself, he will reportedly send Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in his place.
The decision means that Western leaders will rub shoulders with one of the Kremlin’s fiercest defenders of the war in Ukraine, potentially creating uncomfortable situations for world leaders who will undoubtedly end up around the same tables and at the same discussions.
Sending Lavrov will, however, avoid the awkwardness of world leaders taking photographs alongside the Russian president – a situation that would have ultimately been hard to avoid had Putin chosen to attend.
Will Biden Meet President Xi?
While President Biden will not be meeting the Russian president, it also remains to be seen whether he will personally meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
A report from China’s state-run newspaper the South China Morning Post revealed that China and the U.S. are “working to arrange talks between the two leaders,” but no confirmation has been made public by either side. Should the meeting go ahead, it would be the first in-person talks between the two leaders since Biden became president in 2020.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.