JAKARTA: Russian President Vladimir Putin has still not decided if 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 Friday.
The meeting of the world’s top economies has been overshadowed by Russia’s invasion of its neighbor with both sides continuing to battle on the ground without significant change.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo said Putin told him in a phone call 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,” Widodo told local newspaper Kompas in an interview published on Friday.
He said in August that Putin had accepted Jakarta’s invite to the summit on November 15-16, despite Western pressure to bar Moscow from the meeting and in the face of the 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 Zelensky to the summit where he is expected to participate virtually. Ukraine is not a member of the G20 group.
Zelensky has threatened to boycott the summit if Putin attends.
“If the leader of the Russian Federation was to take part in it, Ukraine would not be participating,” he told a press conference Thursday in Kyiv.
In Wednesday’s phone call, Putin and Widodo 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 November 19, three days after the G20 summit concludes.
Moscow has said it has yet to decide if it will agree to extend the deal.
Zelensky and Widodo held phone talks 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 Widodo 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.