Vladimir Putin Decides To Skip The G20 Summit As Russian Forces Retreat From Kherson

Swarajya Staff

Nov 10, 2022, 07:35 PM | Updated 07:35 PM IST

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin

Russian president Vladimir Putin has decided that he will not be attending the G20 leaders' summit. The G20 summit is scheduled to take place next week on the Indonesian island of Bali. 

Moscow's embassy in Indonesia stated on November 10 that, "I can confirm that (foreign minister) Sergei Lavrov will lead the Russian delegation to the G20." 

"President Putin's program is still being worked out, he could participate virtually," said Yulia Tomskaya, the embassy's chief of protocol.

US president Joe Biden, who has called Mr. Putin a "war criminal", previously said he had no intention of meeting Putin at the summit if he attended.

The decision, which follows months of speculation, comes as Moscow is suffering losses in its Ukraine campaign. 

The Russian defence minister announced on Wednesday that Russia will be retreating from the city of Kherson, the only regional capital that Russia had conquered since the beginning of the invasion. 

Russian troops are withdrawing to the eastern side of the Dnipro river and setting up a defensive line. As winter approaches, Russia's goal is to not lose any more territory and defend the land it has acquired. 

As per information depicted in satellite images, Russian forces are digging up trenches and setting up prefabricated units to defend against Ukrainian forces.  Russia is reportedly building three lines of trenches. 

Mr. Putin would be replaced by Russia's foreign minister Lavrov. It is not clear if the Russian leader would attend virtually.

Moscow's top diplomat walked out of a July G20 foreign ministers' meeting in Bali after officials roundly condemned Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Host Indonesia pursues a neutral foreign policy and has rebuffed Western calls to disinvite Russia from the summit. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to attend the summit virtually although there were some reports suggesting that he might not attend. 

Mark Milley, America's top general and the chairman of the joint chief of staff has said that since the Russia Ukraine war began, 100,000 soldiers have died on each side. Russia intends to control territory that it can defend with its limited troops whilst reinforcing the defensive lines with draftees. 

The Russian withdrawal from Kherson was announced during a televised address by the defence minister. After the announcement, US President Joe Biden said that Russia's military has serious problems.

Russia has withdrawn from Kherson because it is unable to withstand Ukrainian military pressure. The Russian army indicated that it was withdrawing from the city of Kherson and an adjoining area of some 4,800 km2, in order to regroup on the left bank of the Dnieper, sheltered by the wide river that cuts Ukraine in two.

This huge setback is both military and political. Kherson was the only oblast capital captured by Moscow during its March offensive – almost without any fighting. It was to serve as a base for a subsequent advance towards Odesa and Transnistria. Now, the capacity of the Russian army to carry out such an evacuation of troops, with barges and floating bridges, is a stake.

Since the holding of a "referendum" on September 30, Russia considered the city an administrative center in one of the 89 entities in the Russian Federation. President Vladimir Putin promised to defend it "by all means". Before that, the head of the presidential party, Andrey Turchak, asserted that "Russia is here forever," repeating the mantra displayed on dozens of giant signs installed in the occupied territories of Ukraine. It is unlikely Russia will ever be in Kherson again.

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