The Kremlin announced on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend next month's historic UN climate meeting, but reiterated that addressing climate change is one of Russia's top national goals.
"Unfortunately, Putin will not fly to Glasgow," Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, told reporters, adding that climate change was "one of our most important foreign policy priorities."
"We need to work out in what format it will be possible to speak via video conference, at what moment," Peskov added.
The United Kingdom is hoping to gain backing from major powers for a more radical strategy to combat climate change during the 26th United Nations Conference of the Parties, or COP26, in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12.
Putin will not attend the G20 conference in Rome this month in person because to fears about the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Kremlin, but will participate by video link, one of at least four presidents who will not be present.
After scores of members in Putin's entourage were diagnosed with the virus last month, he went into self-isolation for a short time. Putin announced last week that he had caught a cold after coughing frequently during a government meeting.
On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told investors that COP26 would be well attended, ahead of the Kremlin's declaration.
"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.