Vladimir Putin is expected to attend the September G20 summit in India after skipping the gathering of world leaders for two consecutive years, said people familiar with the Russian leader’s schedule.
The Kremlin is clearing up Mr Putin’s schedule around the same time so he can fly for the summit in Delhi, reported Bloomberg, citing anonymous people familiar with Mr Putin’s diary.
Mr Putin’s aides have pushed the dates by a week for an annual economic forum in Vladivostok, from its earlier 9-10 September date, the sources said.
The adjustment could now put Mr Putin in the same room as Western leaders for the first time since the war began – if he attends.
An official confirmation of the Russian president’s participation has not been issued yet. Russia had earlier accepted a formal invitation extended by India for the summit.
The postponing of the economic forum will also open the possibility of senior officials from India and China attending the high-level Vladivostok forum, according to the report.
An adviser for Mr Putin confirmed the date change to 12-15 September for the annual Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in a statement.
“The decision to change the dates of the Eastern Economic Forum is linked to the schedule of international events. We are expecting the participation of foreign leaders and high-level guests,” said Anton Kobyakov, adviser to Mr Putin and the executive secretary of the EEF Organising Committee.
Mr Putin had skipped the G20 summit last year when it was held under Indonesia’s presidency.
Last year’s summit was the first gathering of G20 leaders after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. He had also skipped the G20 meeting in Rome in 2021 after being under self isolation due to the Covid pandemic, but had attended through a video link.
The Russian leader avoided a potential confrontation with the US and its allies by not attending the Bali summit, where Joe Biden, Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron deplored Russia’s war in the strongest terms.
The report comes as Russia and China joined forces during the G20 meet for foreign ministers in Delhi and refused to allow the condemnation of the war to be a part of the joint communique as agreed by Western leaders.
The ministers’ meeting, which was attended by Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, ended without a joint statement.
India’s foreign minister S Jaishankar said differences over Ukraine “could not be reconciled”.
A G20 gathering for finance ministers and central bank chiefs in Bangaluru city before had ended before without a joint statement as well.
The grouping had failed to reach a consensus on the language to be used to describe the war.