Russia’s Putin won’t attend G20 summit in person

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Russian President Putin attends a meeting with the heads of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), outside Moscow

MOSCOW -Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the G20 summit in Rome in person this month due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, but will take part in it via video link, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

The Kremlin said Putin informed Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi about his plans in a telephone call during which they also discussed the situation in Afghanistan and bilateral issues.

Separately, the RIA news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that Putin’s decision was driven by the epidemiological situation.

Putin briefly self-isolated last month after dozens of people in his entourage were diagnosed with COVID-19. Last week, after coughing repeatedly at a government meeting, Putin said he had caught a cold.

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(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin;Writing by Olzhas Auyezov;Editing by Alison Williams and Giles Elgood)