Vladimir Putin will be missing from the G20 summit next week amid a series of setbacks for Russia in its war in Ukraine—though he might appear via video. That's according to officials at the Russian Embassy in Indonesia, where leaders of the world's 20 largest economies will gather, per CNN. It would've been Putin's "first appearance at a high-profile international event alongside leaders of Western nations since he ordered his troops to invade Ukraine," per the New York Times. But analysts had expected Putin to attend only if Russia's position in Ukraine was strengthened. Instead, Russian troops were reportedly ordered to retreat from Kherson, one of four Ukrainian regions Russia has tried to illegally annex, on Wednesday.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will head the Russian delegation. No reason was given for Putin's absence, though CNN reports this "saves him the embarrassment of being confronted—or shunned—by other world leaders." (Western leaders walked out of a G20 meeting in April in protest of the war.) President Biden, who's expected to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping for the first time as president at the Bali summit, previously said that if he crossed paths with Putin there, he was only interested in speaking about the Russian prisoner and US basketball star Brittney Griner, per the Times. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, invited as a guest, said Ukraine wouldn't participate if Putin attended, per CNN. Zelensky is now expected to attend events virtually. (Read more Vladimir Putin stories.)