When the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant on March 17 against Russian President Vladimir Putin and the country's commissioner for children’s rights for alleged deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia, all eyes were on South Africa.
Johannesburg was indeed set to host the Russian leader for the 115th BRICS summit.
Vladimir Putin eventually attended the summit remotely and his foreign minister represented him. South Africa said at the time that Putin did not want to "jeopardise" the talks.
Speaking Thursday (Oct. 05) at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, an international discussion forum, Putin explained why did not travel for the bloc's first in-person meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Why should I create some problems for our friends during an event? We are adults, we understand that if I come, a political show will start. Everything will be aimed at spoiling the event, so why go?"
The leader didn't mention the arrest warrant targetting him. In the past, Moscow has called it "illegal".
Since the war in Ukraine became full-scale in 2022, the president of the Russian Federation has left his country on rare occasion, skipping internations forum including the G20.
In March, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Putin over his decision to send troops to Ukraine last year and over the illegal deportation of children to Russia.
"We are primarily interested in the BRICS summit going well, going harmoniously, and getting results, and that the G20 takes place at the right level. All this happened, and that suits us fine. And finally, I have enough to do at home."
Russia is due to host the next BRICS summit in the city of Kazan in October 2024.
The country will hold a presidential election in April taht samle year.