The Daily Telegraph
Putin missing from invites to global leaders
Russian one of just three leaders to be banned from event, with 500 foreign dignitaries set to attend
‘It’s the equivalent of standing up hundreds of state visits in the space of two weeks. We normally only do a couple of them a year’
‘This is a decision for the UK Government. The invitation to attend was for the president and the First Lady only’
RUSSIA will not be invited to the Queen’s funeral because of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, diplomatic sources said yesterday.
The snub makes Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin one of only three national governments to be barred from the funeral, along with Belarus and Myanmar.
Some 500 foreign dignitaries are expected to attend Monday’s funeral at Westminster Abbey, making it the largest international gathering that the UK has hosted in decades.
Diplomatic sources said it was “the equivalent of standing up hundreds of state visits in the space of two weeks. We usually only do a couple a year.”
Representatives from every country that the United Kingdom has diplomatic relations with has been invited apart from those three.
Iran is being invited only at ambassadorial level, reflecting long-running diplomatic tensions over its nuclear programme, the detention of UK dual nationals and what Britain regards as support for Middle East terrorism.
North Korea will also be invited after Britain established diplomatic relations with the reclusive regime in 2000. Kim Jong-un is thought unlikely to attend.
Belarus has not joined in the war but has allowed Russia to use its territory, both as a base for the invasion and from which to fire missiles at Ukraine.
The Foreign Office has imposed sanctions on dozens of high-ranking officials from both countries.
Mr Putin waited hours to send a short but polite Telegram of condolences to King Charles on the night the Queen died, saying she “rightfully enjoyed the love and respect of her subjects, as well as high regard on the world stage.”
Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, said when Liz Truss became prime minister that he hoped relations “won’t get worse,” adding: “It’s hard to imagine how much worse it could get.”
Others in Moscow were less diplomatic. Margarita Simonyan, a close ally of Mr Putin and head of the state-owned Russia Today media holding, said on social media that she was frustrated with Russians expressing condolences. “It is not our loss,” she wrote.
UK relations with Myanmar have been dire since the military overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s government in a coup in February 2021.
Last month, the ruling junta jailed a former British ambassador. Vicky Bowman and her husband Htein Lin, a former political prisoner, were arrested at their home in Yangon after being accused of breaching immigration laws.
Their arrest in August came shortly after Britain expanded sanctions against Myamar’s military junta to mark the fifth anniversary of the genocide against Rohinga Muslim people in Rakhine state.
Britain suspended diplomatic relations with Iran for nearly a decade after the 1979 revolution, and again after Ayatollah Khomenei issued a fatwa against author Sir Salman Rushdie in 1989.
The British embassy in Tehran was closed for two years after pro-regime students stormed it in 2011.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Donald Trump will not be part of the US delegation travelling to London for Queen Elizabeth II’S funeral, after the White House confirmed that the invitation by the British government had only been extended to President Joe Biden and his wife Jill.
After days of speculation over whether Mr Trump and his wife, Melania, would be inside Westminster Abbey, press secretary Karine Jeanpierre told reporters: “The invitation extended to the US government was for the President and the First Lady only.”
When pressed if he could invite anyone else, Ms Jean-pierre added: “This is a decision for the UK government. They decide who gets invited. Again, the invite was for the president and the First Lady only.”
This means that unless separate invitations are issued, none of the five living former presidents – Mr Trump, Barack Obama, George W Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter – will be in attendance next Monday.
All had written warm tributes to Her Majesty, who met 13 of the last 14 US Presidents – all except for Lyndon B. Johnson.
Mr Trump, who enjoyed a state visit to the UK in 2019, called Queen Elizabeth “a grand and beautiful lady,” in his tribute following her death.