With his presence tomorrow at the online summit of the G20 leaders, Vladimir Putin wants to “ride a moment favorable to him”, which opened after the Hamas attack on Israel, but the fact that he sits, albeit virtually, at the same table with Biden and some of the European heads of state and government does not mean that there is “a new phase” in relations between Moscow and the West. This is the analysis that Stefano Stefanini, senior advisor of ISPI and former ambassador to NATO, makes with Adnkronos on the eve of the first G20 summit in which Putin participates since the war broke out in Ukraine in February last year.
“The presence, albeit virtual, of the Russian president is physiological, he did not go to New Delhi due to the arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court and, not wanting to put his guest in difficulty, he sent the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov” , as on other occasions, underlines Stefanini. But the streaming connection allows him to be present this time, also because “Putin wants to ride a good moment, in this phase he feels the wind in his favor, especially after the Hamas attack, which allowed him to do a whole action of captatio benevolentiae towards the Arab and Muslim world, where he gained credits, favor and sympathy at zero cost”.
Among other things, since the conflict in the Middle East has distracted attention from the war in Ukraine, according to the ambassador the Russian president also enjoys the “advantage that the G20 can no longer be dedicated only to the Ukrainian crisis, not to mention that it is one of the few international forums to which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is not invited.”
However, Putin’s presence at the table does not imply that the West has changed its attitude towards him. “There is no new phase in relations – underlines Stefanini, recalling that “no European or Western leader has ever asked for Russia to be expelled from the G20″ – The EU is about to approve the 12th package of sanctions against Moscow”, while the United States has approved the shipment of new weapons.
“And there is no giving up”, observes the ambassador, recalling that Russia is part of the Security Council, that “one cannot think of cutting it off from the international community, given that it is always better to talk to each other than not to talk to each other, and the G20 could be the first opportunity in a long time to talk to each other not through a third party.” For example on the climate, in view of COP28 which opens in Dubai at the end of the month.
Finally, the former representative to NATO urges a resumption of dialogue with Russia also on another topic, which also does not concern the G20, that of “control of nuclear weapons: it is a fundamental question, in particular that of the exclusion of artificial intelligence from nuclear command and control centers, which Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping have also talked about. It would be important if this were discussed tomorrow.”