Putin will not attend the summit in person

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Russian President Vladimir Putin will not shake hands with a major international summit that opens Tuesday in South Africa, because he was discouraged from attending in person due to criminal charges linked to his invasion of Ukraine.

The BRICS summit usually attracts the heads of state of the five member states, which include Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. But host South Africa is a member of the International Criminal Court, which in March issued arrest warrants for Putin and Russian official Maria Lvova Belova over an alleged scheme to steal Ukrainian children and bring them to Russia for adoption. South Africa will be obligated to arrest the Russian leader if he travels to the meeting in Johannesburg.

Putin pledged to fully participate remotely. He has a huge stake in the conference as leaders decide plans to expand the bloc, which already houses 40% of the world’s population and about a third of global economic output. South African officials said more than 20 countries had inquired about joining.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will also attend in person.

War developments:

∎ Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said the US would be willing to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets if the demand for training exceeds what the Europeans can provide. Denmark and the Netherlands are leading the training effort and have agreed to deliver dozens of planes to Ukraine.

∎ Chief of National Security Oleksey Danilov said that the Ukrainian army will most likely liberate Crimea “If by then the aggressor country does not understand that it needs to leave our territory, we have no other choice”.

German Foreign Minister Analina Baerbock told reporters in Berlin that the Ukrainian drone attacks on Moscow were legitimate tactics “within the framework of international law”. At a joint press conference in Berlin, Estonian Foreign Minister Marjos Tsahkna and Baerbock said that Russia bears responsibility for everything that happens as a result of the war in Ukraine.

And although drone attacks have become commonplace in Moscow, the Kiev government has hedged around their involvement.

“Russia is relentlessly bombing civilian targets in Ukraine, targeting grain silos, hospitals and churches,” Berbock said. “Ukraine is defending itself.”

Estonia has been among the most ardent supporters of Ukraine. Germany has also provided military and humanitarian aid, but has drawn criticism for its reluctance at times to provide Ukraine with high-tech military support.

Ukrainian media claimed on Tuesday that the recent drone attacks hitting Russian bombers at bases far from the Ukrainian border were the work of saboteurs directed by the military intelligence services in Kiev. The strikes took place on Saturday at Soltsy Air Base, more than 360 miles north of the Ukrainian border, and Chaykovka Air Base, about 200 miles from Ukraine.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that the attack on Soltsy resulted in damage to one aircraft. Ukrainian military intelligence spokesman Andriy Yusov told the Ukrainian On Monday, media reported that at least one Russian warplane was damaged in the Shaykovka attack.

Contributing: The Associated Press


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