Putin Skips G20 Summit to Avoid Confrontation with US and Its Allies
It has been officially informed that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the G20 Summit held in Bali on November 15-16. Instead, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will lead the Russian delegation at the summit.
JAKARTA, KOMPAS — Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided not to attend the Group of 20 Summit, which is set to take place in Bali on November 15-16. Putin's absence is to avoid the possibility of an unfavorable confrontation between Russia and the United States and its allies during the summit.
The confirmation of Putin's absence at the G20 Summit was conveyed by the
Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan who conveyed the confirmation of Putin’s absence at the G20 Summit to journalists in Denpasar, Bali, on Thursday (11/10/2022). Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will instead be the one to lead the Russian delegation at the summit.
“The Indonesian government respects the Russian government’s decision, which was previously conveyed by President Putin to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in a friendly phone conversation,” Luhut asserted. In this regard, President Jokowi called Putin on Wednesday (11/2/2022).
Head of protocol for the Russian Embassy to Indonesia, Yulia Tomskaya, when contacted by the AFP, confirmed Luhut’s statement. “I affirm Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will lead the Russian delegation at the G20 Summit. President Putin's program is now being prepared, as he is likely to participate in the summit virtually,” Yulia said.
The summit will be the pinnacle of the G20’s intense work and the closing of Indonesia’s chairmanship. This is the first high-level meeting that will see the participation of leaders of the world's largest economic powers after Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are scheduled to attend this event.
The G20 Summit takes place nine months after Putin instructed Russian troops to attack Ukraine.
Putin's decision has been made clear after months of speculation whether he will participate at the G20 Bali Summit. The G20 Summit takes place nine months after Putin instructed Russian troops to attack Ukraine.
In the event that Putin attends the G20 Bali Summit, Biden had long asserted that he would not hold a meeting with Putin on the sidelines. The only possible talks with him, Biden said, would be discussions about a deal to release US citizens currently being detained in Russia.
The ongoing battle between Ukrainian and Russian troops is not seeing an end yet. According to latest developments, Russian troops reportedly suffered a setback as a result of a counterattack by Ukrainian forces. Russia instructed its troops to withdraw from the city of Kherson in southern Ukraine on Wednesday (11/9/2022).
Kherson is the only provincial capital that has been conquered by Moscow forces since the February 24 invasion. The capital is known as the gateway to Crimea, which has been under Russian control since 2014.
Pressure from the West
As chairman and organizer of the G20 Summit, with a series of events held throughout 2022, Indonesia has been facing pressure from Western countries and Ukraine. The objective is to exclude Russia from participating in the G20 Summit. In regard to this, Jakarta opts for staying adamant. The reason is clear. As host of the G20 Summit, Indonesia does not have the authority to fulfill the said demand unless the decision is made within the consensus of all G20 members.
In an interview with the Financial Times published earlier this week, President Jokowi asserted that Russia was invited to attend the G20 Summit. “The G20 is not designed as a political forum. It is intended to discuss the economy and its developments," the President said.
During the interview with the Financial Times, President Jokowi also emphasized Indonesia's position amid the war between the world's major powers. “We don't want to be a pawn in this new cold war,” he affirmed. “We are increasingly concerned by escalating tensions between the world's two major powers.”
Absence to Attend KTT ASEAN
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, as quoted by the TASS news agency, said that Putin, in addition to not attending the G20 Summit, would also skip the East Asian High-Level Conference (KTT) held as a part of KTT ASEAN in Phnom Penh on November 10-13. Russia is one of ASEAN’s full-fledged dialogue partners.
The G20 Summit is one of three high-level summits held in the Southeast Asia region. The other two are the ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Bangkok. Until now, it is still unclear whether Lavrov would also lead the Russian delegation at the ASEAN and APEC summits.
Vice President Kamala Harris will lead the US delegation. Meanwhile, Biden is expected to hold a meeting at the G20 Summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Regarding the three aforementioned events, Biden decided to attend the ASEAN and G20 summits. As for the APEC Summit, Vice President Kamala Harris will lead the US delegation. Meanwhile, Biden is expected to hold a meeting at the G20 Summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Apart from inviting leaders of G20 countries to Bali, the government of Indonesia invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the G20 Summit. Jokowi called Zelensky on Thursday (11/3/2022), a day after calling Putin.
“The main topic discussed was the G20 Summit,” Zelensky stated in a video conversation. Zelensky told Jokowi that Ukraine would not attend the G20 Summit if Putin attended the Bali summit.
Ukraine is not a member of the G20. Indonesia invited Ukraine as a monitoring country, as suggested by US President Joe Biden. A number of world leaders, including Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, are expected to attend the G20 Summit.
In-line with the role of Indonesia as chairman of the event, the G20 Summit is taking place amid hardened conflicts among global powers, following the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine since February.
Given the current unfavorable geopolitical condition, President Joko Widodo anticipates the possibility of heated sessions at the G20 Summit. This unfavorable atmosphere occurred in previous sessions of the G20 Summit wherein there had been countless boycotts and exits. The absence of a joint communique has been unavoidable.
In an exclusive interview with Kompas last week, President Joko Widodo said he eased up on this possibility. “It doesn’t matter whether the forum will be hot or a little hot. A small heated crowd should not be a big deal. Most importantly, everyone can express their views,” the President said.
“It’s a good start for a dialogue forum, indeed. We provide a forum to find solutions collectively. The world is experiencing unprecedented big problems and finding solutions shall be our shared responsibility,” the President added.
President Jokowi left for Cambodia on Wednesday afternoon to attend a series of meetings at the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and other related high-level meetings. After taking the role of the G20 presidency, Indonesia will chair ASEAN in 2023.
After attending a series of ASEAN summits, the President will return to the homeland to take part in a series of sessions at the G20. “I will be arriving in Bali on the evening of November 13, Insha Allah [God willing). Upon my arrival, I will immediately participate in G20-related activities,” Jokowi said. (AP/AFP/REUTERS)
This article was translated by Aulia R. Sungkar