BRICS summit to be 'physical' despite Putin's order: South Africa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said Sunday that next month's BRICS summit, to which Vladimir Putin has been invited, will be held in person despite an arrest warrant for the Russian leader.

"The BRICS summit will go ahead and we are finalizing our discussions on the format," Ramaphosa told journalists on the sidelines of a ruling ANC conference, adding that it would be a "physical" meeting.

He did not say whether Putin, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over allegations that Russia illegally deported Ukrainian children, would attend.

"We will have a physical BRICS summit, we are all committed to having a summit where we can see each other," he said in response to a question.

"We haven't had a physical summit for... almost three years. It won't be virtual," he stressed.

As a member of the ICC, South Africa would be expected to arrest Putin if he sets foot in the country.

There were rumors in the local media that Pretoria was considering moving the talks to China to avoid being put in the position of having to arrest Putin.

The arrest warrant is a problem for Pretoria, which has been close to the Kremlin since the years of the anti-apartheid struggle.

South Africa has not condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine, saying it is impartial and prefers dialogue.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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