Oleksandra Romantsova, the head of a Ukrainian NGO and Nobel peace prize winner, has called on South Africa to prevent Russian President Vladimir Putin from attending a BRICS summit in the country in August. Romantsova urged the South African government to demonstrate that they care and not to allow Putin to attend.
The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Putin in March, relating to allegations that Russia unlawfully deported Ukrainian children.
Romantsova suggested that Putin could attend the summit via Zoom or send a minister who is not wanted by the ICC. South Africa has refused to condemn the invasion of Ukraine and has preferred to stay neutral and seek dialogue to end the war.
The country held a joint military exercise with Russia and China earlier this year, which has been criticized as evidence of a tilt towards the Kremlin. Romantsova and a delegation of academics and non-profit organizations met with senior officials at the South African foreign ministry, but were not granted a meeting with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.