Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, will be absent from the New Delhi G20 summit.

Amidst a sequence of significant international events, a notable absence continues to shadow Russian President Vladimir Putin. With echoes of his previous non-attendance at events like the G20 summit in Bali and the 15th BRICS summit in Johannesburg, Putin once again finds himself opting out, this time from the upcoming G20 leaders’ summit in New Delhi, slated for September 9-10. The revelation comes from Dmitry Peskov, the Press Secretary to the Russian President, who conveyed this information to the Russian media.

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This pattern of non-participation mirrors a trend that emerged following the Ukraine crisis in February 2022. In the wake of escalating tensions, Putin has notably chosen to remain absent from several international gatherings. Even his anticipated trip to Turkey, upon President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s invitation, now casts uncertainty due to this recent announcement.

Amidst the backdrop of these diplomatic intricacies, the emphasis of Putin’s agenda appears to have shifted. As Mr. Peskov highlighted, the primary focus lies on an ongoing “special military operation” in Ukraine, which understandably takes precedence over international summits.

Last year’s absence at the G20 summit in Bali and the BRICS summit in Johannesburg were no anomalies. On both occasions, it was Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who led the Russian delegation, while Putin stayed away. The same pattern seems to be unfolding yet again with the G20 summit in India.

As global leaders eagerly anticipate the New Delhi summit, announcements of attendance have already poured in. President Joe Biden of the United States is set to be in Delhi during September 7-10, and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia also confirmed his travel plans to India.

A retrospective glance reveals that even the anticipation of Putin’s presence at events like the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit under Indian chairmanship was preemptively dashed. The summit shifted to a virtual format due to India’s decision, subsequently eliminating the possibility of a Putin visit. In a similar vein, the impending visit to Turkey, aimed at discussing the Black Sea Grain deal and the ongoing Ukraine situation, hangs in uncertainty as Russian sources refrain from confirming its occurrence.

However, despite the absence from international summits, Putin has not remained dormant on the global stage. His visits to Tajikistan and Turkmenistan in June 2022 underscore his engagement with regional dynamics. The discussions in Tajikistan centered around the aftermath of the 2021 Taliban takeover in Kabul, while the Caspian Summit in Turkmenistan emphasized the enhancement of land connectivity between South, West, Central Asia, and Russia.

While the Ministry of External Affairs is yet to respond to Peskov’s remarks, the narrative of Putin’s selective participation and the reasons behind it continue to intrigue international observers. As the geopolitical landscape evolves, the shadow of absence seems poised to persist, leaving room for further analysis and speculation.

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