The Kremlin says that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not fly to Scotland for the COP26 climate summit at the end of the month.
No reason was given for the decision, which is being seen as a blow to efforts to get world leaders to negotiate a new deal to stall rising global temperatures.
COP26, which starts on October 31, is the biggest climate change conference since landmark talks in Paris in 2015.
Around 200 countries are being asked for their plans to cut emissions by 2030 and many will be watching to see how far Russia and other major fossil fuel producers are willing to go in order to reduce their dependence on them.
Speaking at an international energy forum in Moscow earlier this month, Putin had cited the coronavirus pandemic as a factor in deciding where he would travel to the summit in Glasgow, which is being billed as key to the viability of the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals.
“I am not sure yet if I will attend [COP26] in person, but I will certainly take part in it,” he said on October 13.
The announcement on October 20 that the Russian president will not go to the Glasgow summit comes on the same day that a UN-backed study said the world needs to cut by more than half its production of coal, oil, and gas in the coming decade to maintain a chance of keeping global warming from reaching dangerous levels.
With reporting by the BBC, AFP, and Reuters