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Russian dictator Vladimir Putin will not attend the upcoming BRICS summit and Russia will be represented by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, South Africa's presidential office informed on July 19.
"By mutual agreement, President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation will not attend the Summit but the Russian Federation will be represented by Foreign Minister, Mr Sergey Lavrov," the statement said.
This August, the African country will host a summit of BRICS countries, that is Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Leaders of the remaining four members are expected to attend, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa's office said.
Putin's participation at the summit has been contentious due to the arrest warrant issued against him by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the deportation of Ukrainian children. As a signatory of the Rome Statute, South Africa is obliged to detain the Russian dictator if possible.
Hosts of the forum have been sending mixed statements on Putin's potential arrival. On July 13, Stavros Nicolaou from the BRICS Business Council claimed that all five leaders of the BRICS countries are scheduled to arrive.
According to media reports from April, Ramaphosa, who has been building a close relationship with Moscow, asked Putin not to come to the summit in person. On July 18, South Africa's president said that any attempt at arresting Putin would be a declaration of war.