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5 Dec, 2023 09:53

Brazil’s Lula will invite Putin to G20

The president would welcome his Russian counterpart at the summit, but warns of risks associated with an ICC arrest warrant
Brazil’s Lula will invite Putin to G20

Russian President Vladimir Putin will receive an invitation to attend the G20 summit in Brazil next year, the country’s leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has said. However, he added that he could not influence the Brazilian judiciary regarding the execution of an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in respect of the Russian leader.

Brazil is an original member of the ICC, which in March accused both Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the country’s commissioner for children’s rights, of committing a “war crime” involving the “unlawful deportation” of Ukrainian children to Russia.

Moscow, which does not recognize the court’s authority, has dismissed the ICC arrest warrant as null and void. It has also placed several ICC judges on a wanted list over the move.

Russian officials have also repeatedly said the decision to evacuate Ukrainian children from the conflict zone was based on safety concerns, reiterating that minors would be returned to their parents or legal guardians immediately upon request.

On Tuesday, speaking during a visit to Germany, Lula stated that “whether Putin goes or not, he will be invited” to attend the G20 summit, which is scheduled to take place in Rio de Janeiro in November 2024.

The Brazilian leader, however, noted that his Russian counterpart “has to assess the consequences” of such a move, as it is up to the Brazilian judiciary to decide whether to comply with the arrest warrant.

“It’s a judicial decision. A president of the republic does not judge judicial decisions, he complies or doesn’t comply. Putin is invited to the G20 in Brazil, to the BRICS in Brazil. And if he attends, he knows what will happen. It may happen or it may not happen,” Lula added.

The summit will take place after the Russian presidential election in March 2024. Commenting on Putin’s potential attendance at the G20, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the president had not yet made a decision on the matter. Putin has also yet to announce whether he will run for a new term in office.

In September, the Brazilian president said he believed that Putin “can easily go to Brazil” to attend international events. “If I’m president of Brazil, and he comes to Brazil, there’s no way he will be arrested,” he said at the time.

Lula also expressed hope that, by the time of the 2024 G20 summit, the Ukraine conflict – which has resulted in Western countries imposing unprecedented sanctions on Russia – will finally be over and international relations will have returned to “normal times.”