Vladimir Putin may refuse to attend the G20 leaders summit in November even if he is invited, a foreign policy expert says.

Even if the G20 doesn’t tear up Vladimir Putin’s invitation to its summit in Brisbane, the Russian president may refuse to attend anyway, a foreign policy expert says.

Only if Russia “plays ball” and co-operates on MH17 investigations will it be possible for Mr Putin to attend the gathering of world leaders in November, the Lowy Institute’s Rory Medcalf says.

“There will be a deep political undercurrent at the G20 summit,” he told a Sydney event on Wednesday.

“If there’s a lot of dissatisfaction and anger in the Australian community as well as the international community, I question whether Mr Putin would want to come, to travel halfway around the world to confront protesters.”

Mr Medcalf said invitations to the G20 were made by consensus from participating nations, not the host country.

“Let’s wait and see what happens over the next couple of months, if Russia plays ball [or] if the shenanigans increase.”