Moscow, Nov 17: Russian President Vladimir Putin's early departure from the two-day G20 Summit in the wake of strong criticism from the West over the Kremlin's alleged aggression in Ukraine has been dubbed as a mistake even by observers in Russia. [US, Europe slam Russia over Ukraine]
Fyodor Lukyanov, head of Russia's Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, told The Moscow Times that Putin's early exit is a mistake and he should have continued at the summit irrespective of the criticism. Lukyanov said Putin's action would be seen as a symbol of stress and defeat.
Putin found himself at the receiving end after host Australia gave him a frosty reception. He was received by a lower-ranking minister on his arrival and subsequently, he had a series of not-so-comfortable meetings with top leaders of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the UK, the EU and the USA.
Putin said he required some sleep after a long journey back to Moscow so that he could be fresh for work on Monday and hence decided to leave early, the Moscow Times reported. Though sources in the Kremlin said earlier that Putin had no plans for an early departure.
Earlier, Russia even went to the extent of stationing warships in Australia's northeastern coast, making Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott angrily claim that Russia is trying to reclaim the lost glories of the Soviet Union days. Australia also sent three warships to monitor the Russian moves on its waters.
Abbott has expressed displeasure in the past over the shooting down of a Malaysian plane allegedly by Ukrainian rebels in July, killing all on board, including 38 Australian nationals. UK Prime Minister David Cameron also spoke firmly against Russia,
Soon after Putin left the summit, US President Barack Obama met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Abbott and the three vowed to oppose Moscow's "purported annexation" of Crimea and its moves "to destablise eastern Ukraine", a report published in Reuters said.
The West has spoken about imposing more sanctions against Russia as a counter to its aggressive stand.
Russia even mobilised warships on Australia waters during Putin's stay
Lukyanov said Putin's early exit gave the West an advantage over Russia and the Russian president should have taken a more accommodative approach in a body like G20, which unlike the G8, comprises many non-western countries. Russia needed to show that it can work with other countries, he said.