Putin Accepts Invitation to Attend G20 Summit, Setting Up Biden Showdown

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted an invitation to take part in a G20 summit later this year in Indonesia, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, the current G20 chair, said on Friday.

Speaking from the Bogor Presidential Palace in West Java, Widodo said his Russian counterpart had told him personally that he would attend the G20 summit at the Indonesian resort island of Bali this fall.

The news comes weeks after U.S. President Joe Biden said Russia should be removed from the G20 over Putin's decision to invade Ukraine on February 24. Biden and Putin could meet for the first time in person at the meeting since the beginning of the Russo-Ukraine war, if the Russian leader does attend.

Indonesia currently holds the rotating Group of 20 presidency.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the G20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia via video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, Russia, on November 21, 2020. Indonesian President Joko Widodo said Friday that Putin has accepted an invitation to take part in a G20 summit later this year. ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/Sputnik/AFP/Getty Images

Widodo said he had talked by phone with Putin, who had "provided an update on the situation in Ukraine including the ongoing negotiation process between Russia and Ukraine."

"Putin expressed his gratitude for the invitation to the G20 summit and he said he would attend," Widodo said.

An official with Indonesia's Foreign Ministry, Triansyah Djani, confirmed last month that Indonesia would "remain impartial" and invite all G20 members to the summit, as per established procedures.

"Our position is quite clear," Djani said. "We have always based our diplomacy on principles."

Last month, Russia's ambassador to Indonesia, Lyudmila Vorobieva, said Putin planned to take part in the summit, despite mounting opposition from the West.

Vorobieva said Moscow appreciated Widodo's refusal to succumb to pressure to exclude Putin from the summit.

Zelensky Invited to G20 Summit

Widodo also confirmed Friday that he had invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the G20 conference.

Earlier this week, Zelensky said in a statement on Twitter that he had "thanked Indonesian leader Joko Widodo for the invitation to attend the G20 summit."

Zelensky didn't specify whether he would accept the invitation.

Russia is a member of the Group of 20 major economies, while Ukraine is not, although chairs of the group have invited guest countries to attend in the past.

The G20 members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the U.S. and the EU. Spain is invited as a permanent guest.

Some G20 members have condemned Putin's decision to invade Ukraine, but some, such as China and South Africa, have not.

China, India, Indonesia and South Africa have not joined their Western counterparts in imposing sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine war.

Newsweek has contacted the White House and Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.

Update 04/29/22, 8:10 a.m. ET: This article was updated with additional quotes and background information.