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UK says Putin 'has no moral right' to sit at G20 summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin (Reuters photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has “no moral right” to attend the Group of 20 leaders’ summit in Indonesia, a spokesperson for Britain's foreign secretary says. 

On Friday, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo confirmed that Putin along with Chinese President Xi Jinping are both planning to attend the G20 summit in November.

Widodo has also invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a non-G20 member, to the summit, who says he will attend at least in virtual format.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss's spokesperson, however, said, "Russia has no moral right to sit at the G20 while its aggression in Ukraine persists." 

Truss had earlier said it would be important to confront Putin in front of allies like India and Indonesia. "I would go there, and I would call Putin out," she told a televised debate on July 25.

Former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak has also criticized the decision to invite Putin, calling on the G20 to bar him from the event until he halts the war in Ukraine.

"Our G20 partners and allies have a collective responsibility to call Putin’s abhorrent behavior out," a spokesman for Sunak said. "We need to send a strong message to Putin that he doesn't have a seat at the table unless and until he stops his illegal war in Ukraine."

Widodo has come under pressure from the US and its allies to remove Russia’s membership and to withdraw its invitation to Putin over the ongoing war with Ukraine that has entered its sixth month.

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

A spokesman from the White House said that if Putin "does attend the G20, then Zelensky should participate".

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

The upcoming global leaders G20 event would take place in an atmosphere with the tensions at a highest level in years around the world, whether it is the ongoing Ukraine conflict or the rising threat between China and the US over Taiwan. 

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