Why isn’t Putin at the BRICS summit in South Africa? He could be arrested: live updates from Ukraine


Russian President Vladimir Putin will not shake hands at a major international summit in South Africa as he is prevented from attending in person over criminal charges related to his invasion of Ukraine.

The heads of state of the five member states Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa normally take part in the BRICS summit, which opened on Tuesday. But host country South Africa is a member of the International Criminal Court, which in March issued an arrest warrant for Putin and Russian official Maria Lvova-Belova over alleged plans to steal Ukrainian children and take them to Russia for adoption. South Africa would be obliged to arrest the Russian leader if he traveled to the Johannesburg meeting.

Putin has pledged to participate fully remotely. And he has a keen interest in the conference as leaders decide plans to expand the bloc, which already has 40% of the world's population and about a third of global economic output. More than 20 countries have inquired about joining, South African officials said.

The summit will be attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

War Developments:

∎ Ukraine's Defense Ministry said the Russian military is sinking civilian ferries in the Kerch Strait and planning to erect barriers between them to protect Russia's “illegal” Crimean bridge. The ministry called the action a “hysterical response” to a series of attacks on the bridge since the February 2022 invasion.

∎ The US would be ready to train Ukrainian pilots in F-16 fighter jets if the demand for the training exceeds what the Europeans can offer, Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said. Denmark and the Netherlands are leading the training and have agreed to hand over dozens of aircraft to Ukraine.

∎ Poland's President Andrzej Duda confirmed that Russia has started moving some short-range nuclear weapons to neighboring Belarus, which he says will transform the security architecture of the region and the entire NATO military alliance.

∎ National Security Chief Oleksiy Danilov said the Ukrainian military will most likely liberate Crimea “if by then the aggressor country doesn't understand that it has to leave our territory. We have no other choice.”

The wrong concentration and distribution of troops has contributed significantly to the slow progress of Ukraine's counter-offensive, which appears ready to change gears at the urging of Western military leaders The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Ukraine has split its forces almost evenly between the southern and eastern fronts, instead of dedicating the bulk of its efforts and top fighters to breaking through to Melitopol in the south, which could allow it to sever Russia's supply lines, the newspaper said.

Western officials appear to have persuaded Ukraine's top military commander, General Valeriy Zaluzhnyiian, to change tactics, thanks in large part to his close ties with his British counterpart, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, the newspaper reported.

Russian General Sergei Surovikin, the former supreme commander of Moscow troops in Ukraine who was later suspected of collaborating with the brief Wagner group uprising in June, has been sacked as head of the Aerospace Forces, Russian media reported on Tuesday.

Surovikin, known as General Armageddon for his brutal tactics in other wars, has not been seen in public since June 24. Earlier reports indicated that he had been arrested.

The Ministry of Defense will decide on Surovikin's fate RBC news agencyciting a source who said the general “is currently on a short vacation.”

It will take at least six to seven months before Ukraine's air force is ready to fly the F-16s promised to Kiev by several European nations, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Tuesday.

Reznikov told Ukrainian television The pilots have already demonstrated their ability to be operational in six months, “but the technicians and engineers — we don't know that yet.” He said the F-16 systems and repair protocols are complex. But he said smart, dedicated technicians learned Patriot missile systems in 10 weeks, not the 10 months that had been expected.

“Therefore, I am convinced that F-16 fighter jets will be stationed in Ukrainian skies to liberate Ukrainian territories,” Reznikov said.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told journalists that Ukrainian drone strikes on Moscow are legitimate tactics “within the framework of international law”. At a joint press conference in Berlin, Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna and Baerbock said Russia bears responsibility for everything that happens in connection with the war.

Although drone strikes are now a daily occurrence in Moscow, the Kiev government has secured itself against involvement. Estonia was among Ukraine's most ardent supporters during the war. Germany has also provided military and humanitarian assistance but has been criticized for at times being reluctant to provide high-tech military support to Ukraine.

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

The recent drone strikes on Russian bombers at bases far from Ukraine's border were the work of saboteurs directed by Kiev's military intelligence services, Ukrainian media claimed on Tuesday. The attacks were carried out on Saturday at Soltsy air base, more than 360 miles north of Ukraine's border, and at Shaikovka air base about 200 miles from Ukraine.

The Russian Defense Ministry said one plane was damaged in the attack on Soltsy. The spokesman for the Ukrainian military intelligence service, Andriy Yusov, informed the Ukrainian The news agency reported on Monday that at least one Russian warplane was damaged in the attack on Shaykovka.

Contribution: The Associated Press


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