Putin undecided on G20 summit invite, says Joko

Russian President Vladimir Putin has still not decided whether he will attend the Group of 20 leaders’ summit this month as war rages in Ukraine, the leader of host nation Indonesia said in an interview.

The meeting of the world’s top economies has been overshadowed by Russia’s invasion of its neighbour with both sides continuing to battle on the ground without significant change.

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said Putin told him in a phone call on Wednesday his attendance at the two-day gathering on the resort island of Bali remains up in the air.

“He (Putin) wanted to attend but cannot decide at the moment,” Jokowi told local newspaper Kompas in an interview published yesterday.

He said in August that Putin had accepted Jakarta’s invite to the summit on Nov 15-16, despite Western pressure to bar Moscow from the meeting and in the face of Kremlin’s growing international isolation.

But the warring sides remain locked in a protracted conflict that Kyiv says has left 4.5 million Ukrainians without power during the cold of winter.

Indonesia pursues a neutral foreign policy on the Ukraine war and has also invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the summit where he is expected to participate virtually. Ukraine is not a member of the G20 group.

Zelenskyy has threatened to boycott the summit if Putin were to attend.

“If the leader of the Russian Federation was to take part in it, Ukraine would not be participating,” he told a press conference on Thursday in Kyiv.

In Wednesday’s phone call, Putin and Jokowi also discussed a grain deal that Russia returned to this week which allows Ukrainian exports to pass through the Black Sea, the Indonesian leader said.

The grain deal’s renewal date brokered by the UN and Turkey is Nov 19, three days after the G20 summit concludes.

Moscow has said it has yet to decide if it will agree to extend the deal.

Zelenskyy and Jokowi held phone talks on Thursday about preparations for the G20 summit and the grain deal, the Ukrainian leader said in a tweet.

Indonesia has called for a peaceful resolution to Russia’s months-long invasion of Ukraine, with Jokowi becoming the first Asian leader to visit both Kyiv and Moscow since the outbreak of war in February.

The Indonesian president said 17 G20 leaders have confirmed their attendance at the summit, including US President Joe Biden and China’s Xi Jinping. — AFP

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