Russia's presidential office says President Vladimir Putin will not attend the funeral of Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union.
Gorbachev, who brought the Cold War to an end, died on Tuesday at the age of 91. His funeral is scheduled to take place on Saturday in Moscow.
Presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday, "Regrettably, the president's working schedule wouldn't allow him" to attend the funeral. Peskov said the ceremony will have "elements of a state funeral." He added that the government will assist with the funeral arrangements, but did not elaborate.
On Thursday, Putin paid his respects to Gorbachev at the hospital where his body is being kept.
Russian state-run television showed Putin leaving a bouquet of flowers next to the open coffin. He looked at the deceased and his portrait silently and crossed himself.
Gorbachev was reportedly critical of Putin's authoritarian style of governance and expressed concern about Russia's invasion of Ukraine.