Russian President Vladimir Putin will not fly to Glasgow to attend the COP26 climate summit, the Kremlin said on Wednesday, a setback for host Britain's hopes of getting world leaders to agree a significant climate deal.
Britain, which hosts the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or COP26, in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12, is seeking to get support from major powers for a more radical plan to tackle climate change.
The Kremlin on Tuesday said Putin would not attend the G20 summit in Rome in person this month due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, but would participate via video link, one of at least four leaders set to not be present at the event.
"He will also not fly to Glasgow, unfortunately," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday, but other representatives of Russia would attend.
"We need to work out in what format it will be possible to speak via video conference, at what moment," Peskov said. "The issues that will be discussed in Glasgow right now form one of the priorities of our foreign policy."
Russia is one of the world's largest greenhouse gas emitters.
Putin briefly self-isolated last month after dozens of people in his entourage were diagnosed with the virus. Last week, after coughing repeatedly at a government meeting, Putin said he had caught a cold.
Ahead of the Kremlin's announcement, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told investors on Tuesday that there would be good attendance at COP26.
"We've got a very good attendance and, in spite of the pandemic, it looks like a lot of people are going to be able to come in person," Johnson said.