Putin to be central focus at G20 despite absence

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Nov. 14 (UPI) — British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak plans to address Russian President Vladimir Putin during the meeting of global leaders at G20 in Indonesia this week.

Putin will not be present for the summit, but will instead send foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. Yulia Tomskaya, chief of protocol at Russia’s embassy in Jakarta, said Putin may attend virtually but it is undecided.

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Whether Putin makes a virtual appearance or not, Sunak is preparing to confront the Kremlin leader for the devastation the war in Ukraine has caused.

“This G20 summit will not be business as usual,” Sunak said, according to the BBC. “We will call out Putin’s regime, and lay bare their utter contempt for the kind of international cooperation and respect for sovereignty forums like the G20 represent.”

G20, or the Global Party of 20, is a forum for the world’s leaders to discuss the global economy. The war in Ukraine has had a widespread impact on economies, which will be among the most talked about topics of the week. The summit takes place Tuesday and Wednesday.

Whether or not Putin should be welcomed to the annual summit is a topic of disagreement among world leaders. U.S. President Joe Biden called for the hosts to disinvite Russia from G20 back in March. Members of the Biden administration indicated he would walk out of the conference if a Russian delegation was present. The invitation still stands and Biden has not made reference to walking out of late.

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Ukrainian President Voldomyr Zelensky is expected to virtually attend G20 after pledging to skip the summit if Putin was to be present.