New Delhi: Russian President Vladimir Putin personally informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi over phone on Monday, August 28, that he will not be able to attend the G-20 summit next month.
The Kremlin had already announced last Friday that Putin would not be travelling to India as he was concentrating on the “special military operation”, which is Russia’s war in Ukraine.
A readout issued by the Indian government on Monday, August 28, announced that President Putin “conveyed his inability” to attend the summit slated to be held on September 9-10. He also said that Russia would be represented by its foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.
“While expressing an understanding for Russia’s decision, PM thanked President Putin for Russia’s consistent support to all initiatives under India’s G20 Presidency,” said the Indian statement.
The Russian press release about the conversation was silent on the absence of Putin from the G-20 summit. “An exchange of views was also held with regard to the upcoming G20 summit in New Delhi,” it said.
The Russian President has not travelled outside Central Asia since the start of the Ukraine war in February 2022. The only exception was a visit to Tehran in July 2022, where he also held a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He also didn’t attend the last G-20 summit in Indonesia, as well as the recent BRICS meeting in South Africa.
Putin skipped the BRICS summit due to an active warrant issued against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC has levied war crime accusations against him in relation to Ukraine, although the Kremlin has refuted these claims. Given South Africa’s affiliation with the ICC, it would have been obliged to apprehend Putin had he been present on its soil. However, India is not a signatory of the statute of Rome.
All the international summits that he has skipped so far, Putin attended them virtually. He may do so even this time around, or may even send a recorded message. However, there has been no official word yet on how he will make his presence felt.