Indonesia has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Group of Twenty summit in November, as well as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, its leader said on Friday.
Jakarta, which would hold the G20 summit this year, had been under heavy pressure from the West, led by the United States, to exclude Russia, following its invasion of Ukraine, but it had argued that it must remain “impartial”.
“I have invited President Zelensky to attend the G20 summit,” said President Joko Widodo, who suggested he had struck a balance by allowing Ukraine’s participation. This was following pressure from the US President, Joe Biden, and others over the invitation of Russia.
The Indonesian leader said in a livestreamed address that Putin confirmed in a phone call he would attend the summit, to take place on Bali island.
Meanwhile, Russia is a G20 member, while Ukraine is not.
Biden’s administration made its view clear on Putin’s invitation on Friday.
“The President has expressed publicly his opposition to President Putin attending the G20. We have welcomed the Ukrainians attending,” Biden Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, said in Washington.
“We have conveyed our view that we don’t think (Russia) should be a part of it publicly and privately,” she told reporters, adding that Washington understood the invite was issued “before the invasion.”
“The United States continues to believe that it can’t be business as usual with regards to Russia’s participation with the international community or international institutions,” State Department deputy spokesperson, Jalina Porter, told reporters when asked about the invitation.
She did not comment on whether the United States would still attend.
Zelensky had announced in a tweet that he was invited to the summit by Indonesia on Wednesday, following a call with Widodo.
Widodo met with the Russian president on Thursday, saying, “Putin thanked Indonesia for the invitation to the G20 summit and said he would attend.”