Scholz hopes Putin will change his mind on G20
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz would have preferred if Russian President Vladimir Putin could have attended the G20 summit to personally face “all the questions and criticism” from Western powers over the Ukraine conflict, he told reporters on Sunday.
“It would have been good if he had gone to Bali,” Scholz said during a stop in Vietnam on his way to the G20 leaders' summit in Indonesia, seeming disappointed that Germany and its allies would not have a chance to confront the Russian leader face-to-face to air their grievances.
Putin’s absence will not prevent other countries from denouncing Russia’s military operation in Ukraine and demanding the withdrawal of troops, Scholz insisted, explaining that if “from our point of view a military escalation is unacceptable, then there must also be movement... from the Russian government, from the Russian president, toward proposals that enable peace-building.”
Brussels and London reportedly intend to coordinate their efforts and do “everything possible” to make the Russian delegation feel unwelcome in Bali. A spokesperson for the EU’s foreign affairs service told The Telegraph that the bloc, together with the UK, will not only shun and stage walkouts during addresses by Moscow’s delegation, but also try to convince other nations to do the same.
The German leader said he was “even cautiously confident” that international pressure would succeed in ending the conflict.
Russia will be represented by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the G20. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov revealed last week that Putin would not be traveling to Indonesia, having made the decision personally to stay in Russia. Nor would he be addressing the assembled leaders by videolink, Peskov confirmed.
While Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky had threatened to boycott the summit should his Russian counterpart attend, he responded to the news with the announcement that he too would be staying home. However, he plans to appear virtually. Ukraine is not a member of the G20, but Zelensky claimed Indonesian President Joko Widodo invited him to the meeting back in April.
The two-day summit will officially begin on Tuesday, and according to Politico, Widodo and other officials in his government are seeking to prevent the gathering of world leaders from becoming a Russia-bashing fest, urging Western politicians to temper their criticism so all members, including Moscow and Beijing, can be brought on board with a joint communique at the end of the event.