South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said Sunday that next month's BRICS summit, which Vladimir Putin has been invited to, will be held in-person despite an arrest warrant on the Russian leader.

"The BRICS summit is going ahead and we are finalising our discussions on the format," Ramaphosa told journalists on the sidelines of a conference by the ruling ANC, adding it will be a "physical" meeting.

He did not say if Putin – who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over accusations that Russia unlawfully deported Ukrainian children – would attend or not.

"We are going to have a physical BRICS summit, all of us are committed to having a summit where we will be able to eyeball each other," he said in response to a question.

"We have not held a physical summit for... almost three years. It's not going to be virtual," he stressed.

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As a member of the ICC, South Africa would be expected to arrest Putin if he sets foot in the country.

There had been rumours in the local media that Pretoria was considering moving the talks to China to avoid being put in the position of having to arrest Putin.

The arrest warrant is a diplomatic dilemma for Pretoria, which has been close to the Kremlin since the anti-apartheid struggle years.

South Africa has not condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine, saying it is impartial and prefers dialogue.

Last month, Ramaphosa led the presidents of the Republic of Congo, Egypt, Senegal and Uganda in a historic attempt to broker peace between Kyiv and Moscow.

British Defence Intelligence Update Ukraine 25 February 2023
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British Defence Intelligence Update Ukraine 25 February 2023

Latest from the British Defence Intelligence.

The African leaders' mission brought the voice of a continent that has badly suffered from repercussions of the Ukraine conflict, particularly with rising grain prices.

It put forward a 10-point proposal, including de-escalation, the recognition of countries' sovereignty, unimpeded grain exports through the Black Sea and sending prisoners of war and children back to their countries of origin.

South Africa is the current chair of the BRICS, a grouping of heavyweights that also includes Brazil, Russia, India and China to challenge the dominant US and European-led global governance structures.

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It will host the 15th BRICS summit at the Sandton Convention Centre in the financial hub Johannesburg from August 22 to 24.

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Comments ( 1)

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Joseph Swanson
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It is sad that the global South Nations, especially Africa forget how the russians also hurted their ancestors.In 1889 russia laid claims to the village of Sagallo in present-day Djibouti.
By the beginning of the 20th Century around 25, 000 russian settlers had established themselves in South Africa. Yes, settlers  who stole black land AND displaced black South Africans! The russians were amongst the strongest supporters of the Boer Republics in the Boer War. The largest international solidarity groups raising money, material aid, medical support detachments and fighters for the Boer army were in russia and Holland and these included the royal families. The russians were totally infatuated with the Boers and admired their way of life. russian immigrants joined special detachments of russian fighters to aid the Boer War effort.

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