Russian President Vladimir Putin is not planning to attend the summit of the leaders of the top 20 industrialized nations (G20) in Rome at the end of the month, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.
Putin is prepared to participate by video, the government said, after Putin held a telephone call with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
Italy is hosting the summit on October 30-31.
Earlier, the Russian government had said that Putin’s attendance would depend on the pandemic situation. Russia is currently registering record numbers of deaths due to Covid-19, with 1,015 in the course of a day.
Putin’s decision means he will not meet US President Joe Biden in person again. The two leaders first met face to face in Geneva during the summer, at a time when relations between Moscow and Washington are tenser than ever.
Chinese President Xi Jinping is also not expected to attend in person, in a decision also due to the pandemic.
Meanwhile Putin has yet to finalize whether he will attend the COP26 world climate summit in Glasgow, that runs from October 31 to November 12, or whether he will join by video.
He said last week that there had been a spate of cases of Covid-19 within his circle, which is why he was in quarantine.