Vladimir Putin Makes Quick Exit From G20 Summit Following Series Of Western Snubs
Vladimir Putin’s visit to Australia, along with Russian officials, was tense from beginning to end, to say the very least, leading to a quick exit on behalf of the Russian President from this weekend’s G20 summit in Brisbane.
The visit was marred from the get-go by a series of diplomatic snubs, mainly from Western leaders, surrounding Putin’s aggression in Ukraine. By way of a response to what was clearly a cold shoulder, even by Russian standards, Putin and his officials virtually stormed out of the summit on Sunday, taking a flight back to Russia just as quickly as possible.
While there is no shortage of speculation as to why Vladimir Putin left Australia in such a hurry, citing the fact that he needed to be well rested for business back home on Monday morning, some reports suggest that the straw that broke the camel’s back was his tense meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron in a side office.
A Kremlin spokesman said earlier on Russian radio, “The G20 summit will be over tomorrow, Putin will certainly leave it, when all the work is completed the president will leave.” Adding, “Sanctions are being actively and broadly discussed at all bilateral meetings but no one is putting pressure. This is complete nonsense. This is a usual, routine situation.”
Nevertheless, a Downing Street source told reporters that in a closed-door meeting between Putin and Cameron, the latter warned the Russian President, in no uncertain terms, that he clearly had an important choice to make.
“The prime minister was clear at the start of the Ukraine discussions that we face a fork in the road, in terms of where we go next. We can either see implementation of the Minsk agreement and what follows from that in terms of an improvement of relations. Or we can see things go in a very different way in terms of relations between Russian and the UK, Europe and the US.”
A Kremlin statement following the obviously tense meeting attempted to paint a positive light.
“Vladimir Putin and David Cameron noted interest in restoring ties between Russia and the West and adopting efficient measures to settle the Ukraine crisis which will facilitate the renunciation of confrontational sentiments.. They also spoke about the fundamental reasons for the current discord in ties between Russia, the United States and a number of European countries.”
Despite that attempt at placating tensions, it very much remains to be seen what Vladimir Putin’s next move will be to try and get the West onside as he continues to occupy parts of the Ukraine.