Putin won’t attend a South Africa summit next month, avoiding possible arrest

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be attending the economic BRICS summit in Johannesburg set for next month, to avoid an international arrest warrant related to alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

Summit Details: The Johannesburg summit brings together Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – known collectively as BRICS.
* It is expected that most countries will send their top leaders for the conference.
* Instead of Putin, Russia will be represented by its Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, with Putin participating remotely by video.

Legal Dilemma: South Africa’s government faced a dilemma about whether to act on the global arrest warrant if Putin had decided to attend.
* South Africa, a signatory of the International Criminal Court, had to deal with the warrant issued against Putin for alleged war crimes committed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
* South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed in court papers that carrying out the arrest would risk subjecting his country to war with Russia.

South Africa’s Stance: The South African government has taken a neutral stance on the war in Ukraine, despite its close ties with Moscow.
* The government led by Ramaphosa has repeatedly abstained in United Nations votes condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
* South Africa sparked controversy when it participated in naval exercises with Russia and China in February, coinciding with the first anniversary of the Ukrainian invasion.

Reactions and Ramifications: South Africa’s neutrality on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been questioned by several countries, including the U.S.
* The U.S. accused South Africa of “arming” Russia in May, which the South African government said it would investigate.
* South Africa has insisted on a position of nonalignment, refusing to pick sides in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

View original article on NPR

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