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Putin, Xi to attend G20 summit in Bali, confirms Indonesian president

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Feb. (Reuters File Photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are planning to attend the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Bali in November this year, according to Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

“Xi Jinping will come. President Putin has also told me he will come,” Widodo, also known as Jokowi, said in an interview with Bloomberg published Friday.

It will be the first global summit since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in late February and the US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's toured Taiwan earlier this month inflaming tensions between Beijing and Washington.

Recently, over a phone call, Putin and Widodo discussed the preparations for the grand event. Putin accepted Widodo's invitation to the summit in June but the Kremlin didn’t confirm whether the Russian leader would travel to Bali.

It would also be the first time the Chinese leader has traveled abroad since January 2020 when the country closed its borders to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. During this period, he left the mainland only once on July 1 to mark the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China.

US President Joe Biden and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky are also expected to attend the event, though it is unclear if Biden will meet Putin and Xi. 

“The rivalry of the big countries is indeed worrying,” Widodo said in the interview. “What we want is for this region to be stable, peaceful, so that we can build economic growth. And I think not only Indonesia. Asian countries also want the same thing.”

The summit comes in the wake of Moscow and Beijing declaring a "no limits" strategic partnership in the face of Western pressures.

Washington had earlier called for the international forum comprising 19 countries and the European Union to remove Russia's membership from it and to withdraw Putin's invitation to the summit over the Ukraine crisis, which is now in its sixth month. 

The military operation in Ukraine was launched in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements and Moscow’s recognition of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said one of the goals of what he called a “special military operation” was to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.

Over the past six months, the US and its NATO allies have unleashed unprecedented sanctions on Moscow and supplied heavy weaponry to Kiev to force the Kremlin to surrender but the Russian officials have warned that it will only prolong the war.

Indonesia, which currently holds the G20 presidency, has taken a neutral stance to call for a peaceful resolution to the months-long conflict in Ukraine, with Widodo visiting both Kiev and Moscow earlier this year.

Earlier this week, the Indonesian leader said both Russia and Ukraine had accepted his country as a "bridge of peace".

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