Putin to skip BRICS summit to dodge possible war crimes charges, sending FM Lavrov instead
Russian President Vladimir Putin will not take part in the BRICS summit scheduled for August in South Africa. Instead the delegation of the aggressor state will be headed by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, reported the press service of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
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According to the statement, the decision was made "by mutual agreement".
Putin's refusal to attend the BRICS summit is caused by the fact that on March 17, 2023, the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Putin and the Commissioner for Children's Rights in the Russian Federation, Maria Lvova-Belova, on charges of complicity in the abduction of Ukrainian children.
On April 12, South African authorities called this warrant a "spanner in the works" for the BRICS summit preparation process, since South African Republic, as a state party to the Rome Statute, is formally obliged to execute the ICC warrant and arrest Putin if he finds himself in the country's jurisdiction. In addition, the South African parliamentary opposition stated that it intends to legally oblige the authorities to arrest Putin if he does arrive.
On July 14, media reported that the authorities of South Africa appealed to Moscow with a request that Russia be represented at the BRICS summit not by Putin, but by Lavrov, although Russia refused at the time.
On July 18, the South African president asked the International Criminal Court for permission not to arrest Putin, as this would allegedly be "tantamount to a declaration of war" .