Vladimir Putin leaves G20 early after criticism from world leaders over Ukraine

The president claimed he had important business to deal with in Russia but many believe he left early to avoid further criticism

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Indy Politics

Vladimir Putin has left the G20 Summit early today after a number of world leaders, including David Cameron, told him to get Russian troops and weapons out of Ukraine.

Officially, Mr Putin said he has to leave early because of a long flight back to Russia where he has important business. However, most believed that he has skipped Brisbane early - and before the leaders' lunch, which is not considered good form - because he has had enough of the constant criticism.

Although the G20 is supposed to focus on the global economy, given that the members account for nearly 86 per cent of global wealth, the event has been overshadowed by hostility towards Mr Putin.

World leaders are furious that Russia has maintained a presence in Ukraine, having already taken Crimea in a referendum since President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in February. They argue that Mr Putin has broken the terms of an agreement signed in the Belarusian capital of Minsk in September.

Yesterday, Mr Cameron and Mr Putin met for 50 minutes in a room overlooking a blue tennis court in the Russian president's hotel. They had what a source described as a "robust" exchange of views.

Mr Cameron warned that the ongoing tensions could change Russia's entire relationship with the West. In the week ahead of the summit Mr Cameron even compared Russia's actions with those of Nazi Germany.

Today, Mr Putin claimed that the summit had been "constructive and productive", insisting that there was a "good chance of resolution" on Ukraine. However, he blamed the media for "whipping up" tension.