South Africa Admits Putin's ICC Arrest Warrant 'Spanner in the Works'

South Africa has found itself in a diplomatic dilemma following the International Criminal Court's (ICC) issue of an international arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin in March. The warrant has become a "spanner in the works" ahead of the upcoming BRICS summit, which is scheduled to take place in South Africa in August.

Pretoria, which has close ties to Moscow, is now faced with the challenge of dealing with the warrant and its obligations as a member of the ICC, which requires the country to arrest Putin should he set foot on South African soil. Vincent Magwenya, the spokesperson for President Cyril Ramaphosa, expressed his concern during a recent press briefing, saying "All heads of state would be expected to attend the summit. But now we have a spanner in the works in the form of this ICC warrant."

The ICC issued the arrest warrant against Putin for the alleged unlawful deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia. The warrant has caused political tension in the country, with the Democratic Alliance calling for Putin's arrest and urging the ICC to force the South African government's hand. However, leftist parties, including the South African Communist Party, which is a close ally of the ruling African National Congress, have urged the government to welcome the Russian leader and to pull out of the ICC instead.

South Africa has refused to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine, stating that it wants to remain neutral and prefers to engage in dialogue to end the war. Earlier this year, Pretoria held a joint military exercise with Russia and China, which critics have cited as evidence of a tilt towards the Kremlin. South Africa's ties with Russia date back decades when the Kremlin supported the ruling African National Congress in its fight against apartheid.

The ICC warrant has caused political turmoil in South Africa, with the issue yet to be resolved. The government is currently reviewing the situation ahead of the BRICS summit, where leaders from Brazil, India, China, and Russia are expected to attend.

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