Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will not be attending the BRICS’ summit in South Africa amid a possible warrant of arrest under the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes in Ukraine.
South Africa’s presidential office announced that the Russian president would not be attending the summit after holding a “number of consultations” with the Kremlin. South Africa is an ICC signatory and would be expected to aid in his arrest if the Russian leader came to the summit. Putin’s potential attendance had sparked a domestic political scandal.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said taking part in arresting Putin would risk a war with Russia. “Russia has made it clear that arresting its sitting president would be a declaration of war. It would be inconsistent with our constitution to risk engaging in war with Russia”, Ramaphosa said.
Putin will attend the BRICS summit by videoconference, the Kremlin has said. The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, will lead a delegation to South Africa.
The summit is set to take place on 24 – 26 August 2023. It will bring together representatives of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. It is the first in-person Brics summit since Covid-19.