Moscow: The Kremlin on Thursday dismissed allegations that Russian President Vladimir Putin is not attending the Group of Eight (G8) summit because he is reluctant to face criticism from the West.
"I don`t think Putin is afraid of anything. This is ridiculous," presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich told reporters.
On Wednesday, Putin told US President Barack Obama by phone that he would not be able to attend the G8 summit due to busy domestic schedule.
Instead, new Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who has just handed over presidential powers to Putin, will attend the summit.
Medvedev`s participation meant "the Russian foreign policy is coherent and the course for strengthening the relations with our partners will be continued," the Kremlin`s spokeswoman Natalia Timakova said on Thursday.
"During Medvedev`s work as the president, Russia-US relations have experienced a notable progress, and the work on that direction is to be continued," she added.
Putin and Obama agreed to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in late June in Mexico, the Kremlin said.