A Ukrainian Nobel peace prize winner has asked South Africa not to let Russian President Vladimir Putin attend a BRICS summit in August. Oleksandra Romantsova, the head of an NGO that won Ukraine’s first ever peace prize last year, has urged the South African government to show that they care. The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Putin in March, meaning Pretoria would have to detain him on arrival. Romantsova said that if Putin were to come and not be arrested, it would be a “great disappointment”. The ICC warrant against Putin relates to accusations that Russia unlawfully deported Ukrainian children.
Romantsova suggested that Putin could attend the BRICS summit via Zoom or send a minister who is not wanted by the ICC. South Africa has refused to condemn the invasion of Ukraine, saying it wants to stay neutral and prefers dialogue to end the war. Earlier this year, it held a controversial joint military exercise with Russia and China. Romantsova met with senior officials at the South African foreign ministry but was ignored by the ruling African National Congress party.