Ukraine’s Zelensky likely to join G-20 summit online

A fruit vendor rides his cart past a logo of the G-20 Summit in Jakarta. PHOTO: AFP

KYIV/JAKARTA – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will take part in a summit of the Group of 20 (G-20) major economies next week, most likely attending virtually, his spokesman told the Suspilne public broadcaster on Tuesday.

Mr Zelensky had said last week he would not take part if Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the Nov 15 to 16 summit in Bali, Indonesia. The spokesman, Mr Serhiy Nykyforov, did not say whether Mr Zelensky had changed his position.

Meanwhile, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who is this year’s chairman of the G-20 group, said Mr Putin will join the summit “if the situation is possible”.

Mr Widodo said that during his phone conversation with Mr Putin last week, the latter had not ruled out attending the summit in Bali and would join if possible.

“But if not... maybe he’ll ask to do it virtually,” Mr Widodo told reporters after inspecting preparations for the summit in Bali. He did not elaborate.

The Financial Times newspaper had earlier quoted Mr Widodo as saying that his conversation with Mr Putin had left him with a “strong impression” that the Russian leader would not attend.

The Bali meeting is expected to be dominated by tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special operation”.

As G-20 host, Indonesia has resisted pressure from Western countries and Ukraine to disinvite Mr Putin from the leaders’ summit and expel Russia from the group, saying it does not have the authority to do so without consensus among members. “The G-20 is not meant to be a political forum. It’s meant to be about economics and development,” Mr Widodo said.

US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the summit, Mr Widodo said, adding that they are among 17 state leaders who have confirmed their attendance.

The G-20 comprises 19 states and the European Union. Indonesia is pushing for full attendance to raise its international standing. REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

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