Russian President Vladimir Putin will skip next week’s G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia in a move that some believe was made due to concern over a possible assassination attempt.
“The reasons as to why Putin is not going to G20 are serious,” Russian political strategist and Putin adviser Sergey Markov said, according to The Independent. “There is a big possibility of an assassination attempt on Putin from the special services of the U.S., Britain and Ukraine.”
Markov also suggested a scenario where Putin is subjected to “humiliating situations” during the summit.
“For example, some disabled social activist knocks Putin down – as if accidentally – and all world media splash a picture with a caption ‘President of Russia is down on all fours,’” Markov wrote. “I am certain this kind of situation is being planned by some completely mad Westerners.”
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Rebekah Koffler, a former DIA intelligence officer for Russian Doctrine & Strategy and the author of “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America,” told Fox News Digital that there have been more than a dozen probable assassination attempts against Putin throughout his presidency, and that it is always a possibility. However, Koffler added any suggestion that U.S. or British intelligence would carry out that plot is “baseless” and part of a “Russian disinformation” campaign to come up with an “excuse” to miss the event.
“My assessment is that there may be other reasons why he isn’t going to Bali next week, possibly in addition to security concerns,” Koffler explained. “There are intelligence indicators suggesting that the Russians may be setting up a trap in Kherson. They are withdrawing in order to lure Ukrainian forces and stage a massacre. The Russians may be planning to use inhumane and barbaric methods such as RDDs (radiological dispersal devices) commonly known as ‘dirty bombs’ or they could trigger a flood by targeting the nearby dam.”
Koffler said that Putin likely will want to remain in Russia given those controversial methods “in the event that the U.S. responds with its own escalation, so he can make critical decisions.”
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Russia said this week it had started pulling troops out of Kherson, the only Ukrainian provincial capital it captured during the war, which some believe could be a retreat that signals a turning point in the war, while others remain cautious that the country could be setting a trap for an ambush.
An Indonesian government official confirmed on Thursday that Putin will not attend the G20 summit, avoiding a possible confrontation with the United States and its allies over his invasion of Ukraine.
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Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the chief of support for G-20 events, said Putin’s decision not to come was “the best for all of us.”
“It has been officially informed that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will not attend the G-20 summit, and will be represented by a high-level official, and this has been discussed by President Joko Widodo and Putin in previous telephone conversations,” Pandjaitan said after meeting security officials in Denpasar, the capital of Bali.
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President Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping and other world leaders are set to attend the two-day summit that starts next Tuesday. The summit would have been the first time Biden and Putin were together at a gathering since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
The Associated Press contributed to this report