Russian President Vladimir Putin will skip the G20 summit in India next month and will send his foreign minister instead, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office said Monday.
Modi’s office said he spoke to Putin by telephone, “expressing an understanding” for his decision not to attend the September 9-10 summit, which Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will attend.
New Delhi and Moscow have ties dating back to the Cold War, and Russia remains by far India’s biggest arms supplier.
India has shied away from explicit condemnations of Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, despite pursuing greater security ties with the United States.
Modi and Putin also spoke on “issues of mutual concern”, including on recently concluded BRICS summit in South Africa, which Putin opted to address via video link.
In March, the International Criminal Court announced an arrest warrant for Putin over the war crime accusation of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children. India is not a signatory of the ICC.
The Kremlin denies the accusations, insisting the warrant against Putin is “void”.