Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will lead the Russian delegation at the G20 summit in New Delhi, India, on September 9-10, as instructed by President Vladimir Putin, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced on Monday. The decision comes amid rising tensions between Russia and the West over the conflict in Ukraine and other issues.
The G20 summit, which brings together the leaders of the world’s major economies, is expected to discuss global challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, trade and development. The summit will also be an opportunity for dialogue and cooperation among the G20 members and other countries and international organizations.
Lavrov’s participation in the summit will be the second time this year that he represents Russia at a high-level international event, following his attendance at the UN General Assembly in New York in September. Putin has opted not to attend these events in person, citing health and security reasons.
Putin’s absence from the G20 summit in India will also mark the second consecutive time that he skips the event. Last year, he did not attend the G20 summit in Indonesia, which was marred by US-led attempts to isolate and condemn Russia over its involvement in the war in Ukraine. The US administration reportedly had a contingency plan to avoid any direct contact between Putin and President Joe Biden, in case the Russian leader decided to show up.
Russia has been facing increased pressure and sanctions from the West over its support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine, who have been fighting against the Ukrainian government since 2014. The conflict has claimed over 13,000 lives and displaced millions of people. Russia has also been accused of cyberattacks, election interference and human rights violations by the US and its allies.
Russia has denied any wrongdoing and accused the West of meddling in its internal affairs and trying to contain its influence. Russia has also expressed its readiness to engage in dialogue and cooperation with the West on various issues of mutual interest, such as arms control, counter-terrorism and regional stability.