Ukraine won’t participate in G-20 summit if Putin attends: Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday said his country may not participate in next month’s Group of 20 (G-20) summit if Russian President Vladimir Putin attends.
“My personal position and that of Ukraine was that if the leader of the Russian Federation was to take part, Ukraine would not be participating,” Zelensky said at a news conference.
Leaders of the world’s largest economies will gather in Bali, Indonesia, next month for the group’s annual summit, but it remains unclear if Putin will attend.
The Kremlin said Putin discussed the summit with Indonesian President Joko Widodo during a phone call on Wednesday, but the Kremlin’s statement notably did not indicate whether Putin will participate.
As opposed to Russia and the U.S., Ukraine is not a G-20 member.
But Widodo, who currently chairs the group, extended an invitation this spring for Ukraine to participate in the summit amid Russia’s invasion of the country.
President Biden, who is slated to attend, indicated last month that he had no plans to meet with Putin at the summit, and Politico reported that U.S. officials are working to avoid the duo crossing paths.
“Look, I have no intention of meeting with him. But for example, if he came to me at the G-20 and said ‘I want to talk about the release of Griner,’ I’d meet with him. I mean, it would depend,” Biden said last month, referencing WNBA star Brittney Griner, who has been imprisoned in Russia for months.
Zelensky for weeks has railed against Russia’s continued membership in the G-20 as he called for the country to also be expelled from the United Nations Security Council and other international bodies.
“How can Russia be among the G-20 if it is deliberately working for starvation on several continents?” Zelensky said last week, after Moscow pulled out of a grain export deal. “This is nonsense. Russia has no place in the G-20.”
A smaller forum of advanced democracies, then known as the Group of Eight, indefinitely suspended Russia from the group upon the country’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014. The forum then became known as the Group of Seven.
Following Russia’s latest invasion, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in April skipped multiple G-20 meetings in protest of the conflict, while several other officials walked out of some of the gatherings.
That group included then-British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, who became prime minister late last month and indicated he plans to attend next month’s summit in person.
“Earlier my representatives, along with US & Canadian counterparts left today’s G20 meeting in Washington as Russian delegates spoke,” Sunak tweeted at the time of the April meeting. “We are united in our condemnation of Russia’s war against Ukraine and will push for stronger international coordination to punish Russia.”
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