Russian President Vladimir Putin will not travel to South Africa for the Brics summit. South Africa should have arrested Putin because of an international arrest warrant.
Johannesburg (AP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin will not personally attend the Brics nations meeting in August in South Africa. A statement from the office of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the decision was made “by mutual consent”. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will take part in the summit, not Putin.
The summit of developing nations of the Brics Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will take place in Johannesburg on August 22-24.
South Africa has been under international pressure for months as it invited the President of Russia to a summit of the economically strongest developing nations despite an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC). A court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant against Putin on war crimes charges in Ukraine in March.
Kremlin: Putin participates via video
According to information from Moscow, Putin followed the Brics summit via video. “It will be full participation,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency. At the same time, he confirmed that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will personally travel to the meeting of the states of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Moscow warns: arrest equals “declaration of war”
South African President Ramaphosa announced on Tuesday that Russia had warned South Africa that arresting Putin amounted to a “declaration of war”. South Africa therefore has “a real problem with implementing President Putin’s request for the arrest and extradition”. Ramaphosa had previously been left open for months on whether South Africa would actually arrest Putin.
South Africa came under fire in 2015 when it refused to arrest then Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and extradite him to the International Criminal Court.
Baerbock said so
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has long criticized South Africa’s uncertain move. Therefore, he commented on Putin’s refusal with satisfaction: “This makes it clear that international criminal law, with all its loopholes, is not a weak sword, but it works.”
Putin’s denial also shows “that those who commit gross violations of international law cannot simply travel around the world as before.” Baerbock previously said: “International law is clear at this point. International law is clear: war criminals, those responsible for waging an aggressive war, will at some point be held accountable.
© dpa-infocom, dpa:230719-99-457232/8
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