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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

‘Mr Putin, can you hear us?’ – Russian president to join Brics summit by video

Putin’s contribution to the gathering next month will be “comprehensive” despite its remote nature.

While Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t be attending the Brics summit in South Africa in person, he will participate remotely from the comfort of the Kremlin via video link.

This is according to Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov, as reported by state-controlled international news outlet RT.

Putin’s contribution to the gathering next month will be “comprehensive” despite its remote nature, Peskov said.

The South African Presidency on Wednesday confirmed Putin will not be attending the summit in August and Russia would instead be represented by its Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Putin’s decision relieved South Africa of a diplomatic conundrum, with the Democratic Alliance (DA) compelling President Cyril Ramaphosa to execute an International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant of arrest for the Russian president.

No threats to SA

Ramaphosa’s confidential affidavit claimed arresting Putin would be a declaration of war with Russia.

According to RT, Peskov denied Moscow had issued such threats, but argued there was “no need for any explanation” of the risk.

The Citizen‘s request for comment to Ramophosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya was unsuccessful at the time of publishing. Any update will be included once recieved.

ALSO READ: ‘Many wished Putin to be here, but wisdom prevailed’ – ANC

‘Wisdom prevailed’

The governing African National Congress (ANC) also welcomed Putin’s decision not to attend the Brics summit, saying his presence would have complicated matters.

ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri said while Putin was welcome to attend the summit, the ICC’s warrant for his arrest complicated matters.

“There are many who wished president Putin to be here physically but I think wisdom may have prevailed.”

DA continues with Putin court action

Meanwhile the DA will continue with its court action to seek clarity on government’s obligations with the warrant of arrest issued by the ICC for the Russian president.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said: “We believe this is important because there are aspects of President Ramaphosa’s affidavit that needs to be challenged.”

ALSO READ: ‘You can’t end a war by issuing a piece of paper’ – Expert weighs in on Ramaphosa’s confidential affidavit