(Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to leave the G20 summit early, a member of his delegation said, after Western leaders blasted Moscow on Saturday for the crisis in Ukraine and threatened more sanctions.
The Russian official told Reuters that Putin planned to skip a working session on Sunday at the two-day summit in Brisbane and bring forward his departure because he needed to attend meetings in Moscow.
Russia denied it was involved in a recent escalation of military activity in Ukraine, where fighting has claimed more than 4,000 lives, but faced strong rebukes from Western leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
“I guess I’ll shake your hand but I have only one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine,” Harper told Putin at the summit, according to his spokesman Jason MacDonald.
Putin’s response to the comment wasn’t positive, MacDonald said in an email, without elaborating.
Obama said Russian aggression against Ukraine was a threat to the world, while the European Council demanded Moscow withdraw troops and weapons from the neighboring nation and put pressure on rebels there to accept a ceasefire.
Speaking on the sidelines of the summit, Obama placed security and climate change at the center stage of the leaders meeting, overshadowing talks on how to lift flagging global economic growth…. see more