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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa states that arresting Putin would amount to declaration of war

According to court documents released on Tuesday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa stated in an affidavit that arresting Russian President Vladimir Putin would be seen as a declaration of war. This statement comes as South Africa grapples with the issue of hosting Putin for the upcoming BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, which has gained significance in light of the ongoing Ukraine war. Putin is facing an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Putin has been invited to attend the BRICS Summit next month, raising expectations that South Africa, as an ICC member, would be obliged to act on the warrant. The opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), is attempting to pressure the government into ensuring Putin’s arrest and extradition to the ICC.

In response, Ramaphosa described the DA’s application as “irresponsible” and emphasized the importance of national security. He stated that Russia has made it clear that arresting its sitting President would be considered an act of war. Ramaphosa argued that engaging in a war with Russia would be inconsistent with the South African Constitution and his duty to protect the country.

South Africa is currently seeking an exemption under ICC rules, citing the potential threat to the country’s security, peace, and order if the arrest is carried out. As the current chair of the BRICS group, South Africa, along with Brazil, Russia, India, and China, views itself as a counter-balance to Western economic dominance.

The arrest warrant against Putin stems from accusations that Russia unlawfully deported Ukrainian children. Deputy South African President Paul Mashatile has stated in recent interviews that the government has been attempting to dissuade Putin from attending the summit, but these efforts have thus far been unsuccessful.

Ramaphosa’s affidavit, initially marked as confidential, was made public on Tuesday following a court ruling. Ramaphosa and Putin had a phone conversation on Saturday, during which Putin mentioned that the main objective of the grain deal with Ukraine had not been achieved. The deal, which aimed to alleviate concerns of a global food crisis sparked by the Ukraine conflict, expired on Monday, and Russia announced its withdrawal from the agreement.


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