The Ukrainian Nobel Peace Prize laureate on Wednesday called on South Africa not to allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend the BRICS summit in the country in August.
Oleksandra Romantsova, the head of an NGO that won Ukraine’s first peace prize last year, urged the South African government to “show us they care”.
The ICC issued an arrest warrant against Putin in March, meaning he will have to be detained upon arrival in Pretoria due to host the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa bloc summits this year.
“For us South Africa is a place where people are fighting for dignity, for equality,” Romantsova, who came to South Africa to drum up support for Ukraine, told a media briefing in Johannesburg.
– Putin’s visit will be a ‘big disappointment’ –
It would be “a great disappointment” if Putin came here and was not arrested.
The International Criminal Court’s warrant against Putin stems from allegations that Russia illegally deported children from Ukraine.
Romantsova, executive director of the Kiev-based Center for Civil Liberties (CCL), suggested the Russian president could attend the BRICS summit via Zoom – or send a minister who is not wanted by the ICC.
CCL, which has run successful campaigns for political prisoners, tracked disappearances and exposed Russian war crimes, shared the peace prize last year with Belarusian and Russian co-winners.
South Africa, a continental powerhouse, has refused to condemn the invasion of Ukraine, which has largely isolated Moscow on the international stage, saying it wants to remain neutral and work to end the war. Prioritizes conversation.
Earlier this year, it conducted a controversial joint military exercise with Russia and China, which critics cite as evidence of pro-Kremlin leanings.
Romantsova, who is in South Africa as part of a delegation of academics and non-profit organisations, met senior officials from the South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party put him on the backburner.
“We (the ANC) have been trying to meet and it is surprising to me that it is so difficult to organize such a meeting,” said Oleksiy Haran, another member of the delegation and the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy of Politics at the National University. said the professor.
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