Putin set to join ranks of world leaders staying away from COP26

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) arrives for the ceremony of presenting credentials at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 5, 2020. China is taking
Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) arrives for the ceremony of presenting credentials at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Feb. 5, 2020. China is taking "decisive and vigorous" measures to fight the novel coronavirus, Vladimir Putin said Wednesday at the ceremony of presenting credentials by ambassadors of 23 countries, including China. (Xinhua/Bai Xueqi)

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not planning to attend the upcoming COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed on Wednesday.

Putin had previously confirmed his participation in the COP26 summit, which is scheduled from October 31 to November 12, but had left open whether he would travel in person to the event or join by video.

On Tuesday the Kremlin announced that Putin would be participating in the G20 summit in Rome at the end of October via video link.

There were repeated references to the coronavirus situation, which has escalated dramatically in Russia in the past few weeks.

On Wednesday, according to official statistics, the authorities registered more than 34,000 new infections within 24 hours. Over the same period, 1,028 deaths were recorded, a new record for Russia during the pandemic.

Putin, who claims to have been vaccinated with the Russian vaccine Sputnik, was in quarantine for over two weeks in September following an outbreak of the coronavirus among his staff.

Speculation was rife about whether Putin and US President Joe Biden would meet again in person at one of the upcoming summits. The two heads of state met in person in Geneva for the first time in the summer.

When asked by journalists, Kremlin spokesman Peskov nevertheless said that the possibility of Putin and Biden meeting by the end of the year was “quite real in one format or another.”

In the meantime, relations between Moscow and Washington remain very tense due to a raft of disagreements.

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