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Russia's Vladimir Putin to address World Economic Forum on Wednesday

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with university students via a video conference call at a state residence in Zavidovo, Russia January 25, 2021. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin will address the World Economic Forum (WEF) by video conference on Wednesday, Russian news agencies cited his spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying on Monday.

The event, which gathers business chiefs, political thinkers and state leaders, is being held online due to COVID-19.

Putin’s appearance is likely to be contentious with critics at a time when the West is weighing possible new sanctions against Russia over its treatment of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

“I confirm Davos on the 27th,” the RIA news agency quoted Peskov as saying, a reference to the Swiss ski resort which has hosted WEF events in previous years.

Putin did not feature on the pre-conference agenda.

The Interfax news agency said Putin had not taken part in a similar event since 2009 when he was Russian prime minister.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin/Alexander Marrow; Editing by Tom Balmforth/Andrew Osborn

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