Scholz says G7 leaders would attend G20 even if Putin comes

EuroActiv Politico News

ELMAU, Germany — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Tuesday that “as things stand today” all G7 leaders would attend the G20 summit in Indonesia this November even if Russian President Vladimir Putin participated.

The Kremlin said Monday that Putin would attend the G20 summit, posing a dilemma for leaders of the G7 group of the most industrialized economies as they aim both to cement bonds with the emerging economies in the broader G20 group while also isolating the Russian leader internationally.

Scholz said Tuesday there had been “great unity here in all the discussions” at the G7 leaders’ meeting at Schloss Elmau in Southern Germany “that we do not want to drive the G20 apart.”

“Therefore, as things stand today, the decision of the states that were gathered here would be to go there,” Scholz told reporters at his closing press conference of the G7 summit.

While the Kremlin has said Putin will participate in the G20 gathering, leaders are not expecting him to show up in person. Italian premier Mario Draghi on Tuesday said Indonesian President Joko Widodo, whose country is hosting the G20, had told G7 leaders Putin would not make the trip, indicating the Russian leader may instead beam in via video link.

Asked about potential security guarantees that Germany and other Western allies could provide to Ukraine as part of a potential future peace deal with Russia, Scholz said G7 leaders had “deepened” discussions on this subject, but added: “That’s something that is nowhere near concrete enough to be meaningful to talk about today.”

“We want Ukraine to be able to defend its sovereignty, independence and future as a democracy,” Scholz said as he vowed to continue military and financial support for the country in its war against Russia.

“Now, of course, the next task is to make sure that the war comes to an end and Russia withdraws its troops again, that Ukraine gets exactly into this situation” where it could start peace talks with Russia and where potential peace guarantees could be applied.

Giorgio Leali contributed reporting.