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Don’t let Putin in, Nobel prize winner tells South Africa

On Wednesday, Ukraine’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate urged South Africa to ban Russian President Vladimir Putin from traveling there to attend the Brics conference in August.

The head of an NGO that received Ukraine’s first Nobel Peace Prize last year, Oleksandra Romantsova, pleaded with the government to “show us they care.”

An order for Putin’s arrest was issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March, so South Africa, which is hosting this year’s Brics summit, must detain him when he arrives.

“For us, South Africa is a place where people fight for freedom, equality and dignity,” Romantsova told a news conference in Johannesburg while she was there to rally support for Ukraine.

It would be very disappointing if Putin came to our country without being detained, he said.

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Putin was the subject of an ICC arrest request following claims that Russia forcibly deported Ukrainian children.

The Russian president may attend the meeting remotely using Zoom, or he may send ministers who are not wanted by the ICC, according to Romantsova, director of the Kyiv-based Center for Civil Liberties (CCL).

Last year, CCL shared the peace prize with joint winners from Belarus and Russia. CCL has successfully campaigned for political prisoners, tracked enforced disappearances, and exposed Russian war crimes.

South Africa refused to express its disapproval of the invasion of Ukraine, claiming it preferred to remain neutral and negotiate a peaceful resolution.

It conducted controversial joint military exercises with China and Russia earlier this year, which critics saw as evidence of tilt in the Kremlin’s favor.

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Romantsova spoke to a senior staff member in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, but the ANC ignored her. Romantsova traveled to South Africa as a member of a delegation of academics and non-profit organizations.

Olexiy Haran, member of the delegation and professor of politics at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy National University, stated, “We are trying to meet [the ANC] and to me it is very surprising that it is so difficult to organize such meetings.”

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04-19-2023 22:06:25 this article Don’t let Putin in, Nobel prize winner tells South Africa published on
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