On the day President Trump hosts a high-level summit in New York City on reforming the United Nations, Russian President Vladimir Putin will be more than 4,000 miles away, having chosen to spend Monday observing Russia-Belarus wargames south of St. Petersburg.
“The supreme commander-in-chief will inspect actions of the armed forces of the Union State of Russia and Belarus at the main stage of the joint strategic exercise Zapad-2017 on the Luzhsky range,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
Earlier this month the pro-Kremlin RT television network under the headline “Not on guest list” reported that Putin had “not been invited” to Trump’s summit, which comes one day before the U.S. president addresses the U.N. General Assembly for the first time.
In fact no country was “invited” to participate in the reform gathering, but the U.S. mission to the U.N. instead asked countries to put their names to a package of proposed reform measures.
“We asked other countries to sign on to their support of reform, and 120 countries have signed on and will be in attendance,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley told reporters at the White House on Friday, adding that securing the support of so many countries was “miraculous.” The U.N. has 193 member-states.
Also on Friday, Haley’s Russian counterpart, Vasily Nebenzya, expressed doubt that his country would sign up to the reform proposals.