Putin to attend climate summit virtually

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The Kremlin announced on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not be attending the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in person and would instead be taking part virtually.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for Putin, said, “He will also not fly to Glasgow, unfortunately,” according to Reuters. Peskov did not explain why the Russian president would not be flying to the conference.

“We need to work out in what format it will be possible (for Putin) to speak via video conference, at what moment,” Peskov added. “The issues that will be discussed in Glasgow right now form one of the priorities of our foreign policy.”

Reuters noted that Putin’s absence would deal a blow to the climate conference as he leads the world’s fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The attendance of leaders from other top carbon emitters, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is also uncertain.

Putin will similarly be attending the upcoming G20 summit in Rome virtually, citing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic as reason for his in-person absence.

Earlier this month, Putin said at an energy conference in Moscow that Russia would be aiming to become carbon neutral by 2060. Reuters reported Putin said he expects hydrogen, ammonia and natural gas to play a bigger role in energy in the next few years. He also stated Russia was open to dialogue on combating climate change.

Even though Putin will not be in attendance, a Russian delegation is still expected to travel to Glasgow, The Washington Post reported, with potentially 300 attendees. 

Tags COP26 Dmitry Peskov Presidents of Russia UN climate conference Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin

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