In a surprising turn of events, Russian President Vladimir Putin has chosen to skip the upcoming G20 leaders’ summit, set to convene in India on September 9-10. The decision was officially confirmed today by Dmitry Peskov, the Press Secretary to the Russian President.
Putin’s Absences Amidst Ukraine Crisis
This choice follows Putin’s recent trend of abstaining from international gatherings, with this being the latest occurrence since the eruption of the Ukraine crisis in February 2022. Despite initial plans to visit Turkey at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, this unexpected announcement casts doubt on that prospective trip.
Peskov emphasized that Putin has no intentions of attending the G20 summit in India, highlighting that the ongoing military operation in Ukraine remains the paramount concern. Notably, Putin was also a no-show at the previous year’s G20 summit in Bali and similarly abstained from the 15th BRICS summit, which concluded in Johannesburg just yesterday.
Delegations and World Leaders Forge Ahead
During both the Bali and Johannesburg events, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov led the Russian delegations, showcasing Russia’s commitment to international cooperation even in the absence of its President. Meanwhile, other leaders have already solidified their plans to journey to India for the G20 summit. The White House has confirmed that President Joe Biden will grace Delhi with his presence during the September 7-10 window. Likewise, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia has also disclosed his travel intentions for the event.
Putin’s Prior Engagements and Uncertainty
Earlier developments, including the cancellation of the physical Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit under India’s chairmanship, had preemptively overshadowed the possibility of Putin’s visit to India. However, the Russian President did embark on trips to Tajikistan and Turkmenistan in June 2022.
During his visit to Tajikistan, Putin engaged in discussions with President Emomali Rahmon about the aftermath of the 2021 Taliban takeover in Kabul. In Turkmenistan, his participation in the Caspian Summit was marked by a focus on enhancing land connectivity from South, West, and Central Asia to Russia.
The Anticipation of Talks with Turkey
Putin’s intended visit to Turkey held prospects of discussing the Black Sea Grain deal with President Erdogan, who had been actively communicating with the Kremlin regarding the Ukraine situation. While Turkish media had initially reported that the visit was scheduled for the end of August, Russian sources declined to confirm this on Friday.