Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the BRICS summit in Johannesburg in August. Instead of Putin, the Russian delegation will be headed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. This was announced by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The statement on the South African leader’s website says Putin would not attend the summit by mutual consent. The other BRICS member states - China, Brazil, India and South Africa - would be represented by the heads of state.
There is an International Criminal Court warrant against Putin. The Russian President is accused of illegally removing Ukrainian children from territories outside Kiev’s control. South Africa is among the signatories to the Rome Statute, which obliges it to implement the ICC judgements and arrest Putin upon his arrival.
South Africa’s President said yesterday that he had asked the ICC for permission not to arrest the Russian President. Cyril Ramaphosa described a possible arrest as tantamount to a war declaration.
South African Vice President Paul Mashatile also told the press the other day that the South African authorities persuaded Putin not to come to the summit in Johannesburg. According to Mashatile, Moscow stood against the proposal that the Russian delegation be headed by Sergey Lavrov.
The organizers of the event considered moving the summit to China, but India and Brazil opposed the proposal.
The Kremlin said the format of the Russian President’s participation in the Johannesburg meeting has not been determined yet.
The Financial Times said that Ramaphosa would use the meeting at the Russia-Africa Summit in St Petersburg at the end of July to dissuade Putin from coming to Johannesburg.