Vladimir Putin, the long-serving leader of the Russian Federation, will not be present at this year’s BRICS Summit in South Africa. The reason behind his absence is the apprehension that he might face arrest following an indictment of war crimes issued by the International Criminal Court. South Africa, being a signatory of the ICC treaty, would be obligated to detain the Russian president if he were to visit their nation.
BRICS is a trading group consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
In March of this year, Vladimir Putin was formally charged by the International Criminal Court. The arrest warrants accuse him of being accountable for the unlawful deportation and transfer of children from occupied Ukraine to the Russian Federation.
President Putin has maintained an amicable association with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has also experienced his fair share of controversial moments. In recent times, Ramaphosa and various other African leaders journeyed to Ukraine and Russia for diplomatic peace negotiations with President Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Despite Ramaphosa’s refusal to commit to arresting Putin if he visits South Africa, stating that such an action could be perceived as an act of war against Russia, Putin ultimately decided not to attend the BRICS Summit in the country.
The Democratic Alliance, South Africa’s primary political opposition party to President Ramaphosa, has advocated for Putin’s arrest based on the allegations of war crimes. However, Ramaphosa has resisted this demand, asserting that engaging in a conflict with Russia would be contrary to their constitution and could prolong the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.
South Africa, as a United Nations member, has consistently declined to participate in actions that would denounce Russia’s aggression. Instead, they propose that fostering further dialogue between nations would be instrumental in bringing an end to the war.
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, announced that Putin will participate in the BRICS Summit through a video call to avoid placing President Ramaphosa and South Africa in an awkward situation.