Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have accepted invitations from Indonesian President Joko Widodo to attend the Group of 20 (G20) summit scheduled for Nov. 15-16 in Bali.
What Happened: Russia is a member of the G20 but Ukraine is not. There is a tradition within the G20 of inviting the heads of state of non-member nations to attend the annual event.
Widodo stated he was in touch with both presidents to bring an end to Russia’s invasion and occupation of Ukraine.
“Exchanged views over the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin @KremlinRussia_E on the situation in Ukraine as well G20 cooperation,” he tweeted. “Underlined that the war must stop immediately & peace negotiations be given a chance. Indonesia stands ready to contribute towards this goal.”
What Happens Next: If both Putin and Zelensky arrive in Bali, it will mark the first time since the Russian invasion that either president traveled outside of their respective country.
Putin’s presence at the G20 summit will create a thorny situation for U.S. and European leaders who have tried to make the Russian leader an international pariah. According to a Fortune magazine report, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison tried to dissuade Widodo from inviting Putin while China’s government tried to pressure Widodo not to include Ukraine.
The Polish government asked U.S. President Joe Biden to remove Russia from the G20 and allow Poland to take its seat. Biden had advocated ejecting Putin’s government from the G20, but there is no consensus among the other G20 nations on having Russian membership terminated.
Russia had been a member of the Group of Eight (G8) until it was expelled in 2014 after its invasion and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region. In 2020, then-President Donald Trump suggested returning Russia to the forum, which was renamed G7 after Russia’s expulsion, but the other member states rejected the proposal.
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