Vladimir Putin Cancels Trip to BRICS Summit Because of ICC Arrest Warrant

(Mike Hutchings/Pool via AP file)

Russian President Vladimir Putin will pass on attending the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) heads of state meeting in Johannesburg in August rather than risk arrest as a war criminal.

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“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 South African presidency said on Wednesday.

BRICS is a grouping of what are allegedly the world’s fastest-growing economies. Fastest-growing is sort of a relative turn as they are neither objectively the fastest growing, in the case of Russia, probably not growing at all. Some anti-American pundits contend BRICS will supplant the US and EU and give rise to the nirvana of a multi-polar world. Since it invaded Ukraine, Russia has used BRICS to avoid sanctions, rally international support, and assume a place on the world stage that it doesn’t rate. I think if you look a BRICS as anything other than China’s attempt to create a power center separate from the West and Russia as anything but a sockpuppet in the deal, you’re mistaken. But that’s just my opinion.

The story starts on February 24, 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine using an undisciplined military force led by men who saw themselves as the heirs of the Red Army, raping and pillaging its way across Eastern Europe in 1944-45. Virtually any kind of war crime you wish to talk about was committed by the Russian Army during the invasion; see The Ukrainian Army Liberates Territory From Russian Invaders and Discovers Murdered CiviliansRussian Torture Chamber Discovered in Liberated Ukraine Town as the Russian Army Continues to Do What It Is Good at Doing, and Russia Denies Its Army Committed War Crimes in Ukraine in the Most Russian Way Possible. Since then, the pattern of rape, plunder, and deportations that is familiar to any student of World War II has continued. The UN has documented as many as 100,000 Ukrainian children taken from their families and “adopted” by Russian families. Some Ukrainian children have started appearing the in the illegal immigration stream overwhelming our southern border. All of this resulted in the International Criminal Court (ICC) issuing an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin. This compels all members of the ICC convention to apprehend Putin should he come within their jurisdiction; see International Criminal Court Issues Arrest Warrant for Vladimir Putin.

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This caused a major political problem for the government of South African president-for-life Cyril Ramaphosa. His government attempted to give withdraw from the ICC and then, when that failed, gave Putin immunity from arrest. The doubt surrounding the promise of immunity was enough that Ramaphosa said Russia had threatened South Africa with war (lolol) if Putin were arrested.

South Africa has claimed it cannot arrest Vladimir Putin at a planned Brics summit in Johannesburg next month because Russia has threatened to “declare war” if the International Criminal Court warrant against its leader is enforced.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said in court papers publicly released on Tuesday that “Russia has made it clear that arresting its sitting president would be a declaration of war” as he revealed that Pretoria has notified the ICC that it might not be able to detain Putin.

Beyond this event’s Monty Python nature, it has some serious implications.

First, Russia is isolated. Ramaphosa could’ve told the ICC to pound sand, but he didn’t. He didn’t because no matter how much the BRICS members woof about BRICS, the BRICS JV squad knows how vulnerable they are to the civilized world and what Western sanctions would mean. Putin’s partisans can make all the noise they want about Russia getting stronger because of the war, but that is delusional.

Second, Putin is afraid to travel to any but the most friendly of states. The ICC arrest warrant places him at real risk, and if that happens, Russia’s bleating about war will be revealed for just what it is…hot air.

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Third, Putin is probably happy that he doesn’t have to travel because he doesn’t seem to be on the firmest political footing at home in the wake of the Wagner Group mutiny.

Putin declining the invitation probably saved Russia from being humiliated on two continents at the same time.

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