An official with the Indonesian government announced on Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be attending the G-20 summit that will be held in Indonesia the following week. This decision was made to avoid a potential confrontation with the United States and its allies regarding Putin’s war in Ukraine.
Beginning on November 15, a two-day summit will be held in Bali, and a number of international leaders, including the Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, and the President of China, Xi Jinping, are scheduled to participate. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the meeting was supposed to be the first occasion that Vice President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin would have been in the same room at the same time.
The Chief of Support for G-20 activities, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, recently confirmed to reporters in Denpasar, Indonesia, that Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov would be in charge of leading the Russian delegation.
“The Indonesian government respects the decision of the Russian government,” said Pandjaitan, who is also the Coordinating Minister of Maritime and Investment. “President Putin himself previously explained to President Joko Widodo in a very friendly telephone conversation how the decision of the Russian government would affect Indonesia,” Pandjaitan said.
“We hope that the excellent contact between the two presidents may alleviate tensions between Russia and Ukraine,” said Widodo, who is hosting the G-20 together with Pandjaitan.
It is currently unknown whether or not Lavrov will represent Russia at all of the summits that are taking place in Southeast Asia this week and the next, with the G-20 meeting being the most important of the three. On Thursday, the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations got underway in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The next day, the summits of the G-20 and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation got underway in Bangkok, Thailand.
While Vice President Kamala Harris travels to APEC, Vice President Joe Biden will be attending the ASEAN and G-20 summits.
Biden had stated that he would not have met with Putin even if he had attended the summit, and that the only conversation he could have possibly had with the Russian leader would have been to discuss a deal to free Americans who were imprisoned in Russia. Biden had stated that he would not have met with Putin even if he had attended the summit.
Officials in the administration of Vice President Joe Biden said that they had been communicating with their colleagues across the world to devise a plan to isolate Vladimir Putin in the event that he opted to attend, either in person or online. They have explored the use of boycotts as well as other forms of public disapproval.
The news that Russia’s troops in Ukraine had suffered serious defeats coincides with Putin’s decision to skip the G-20 summit altogether. The Russian military has announced that it will pull out of Kherson, which is the sole Ukrainian provincial capital that it has taken control of and serves as a gateway to the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula.