Putin, Ramaphosa discuss Black Sea grain deal, BRICs summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa had a phone conversation in which they discussed the Black Sea grain deal, set to expire on Monday, as well as an upcoming summit in South Africa scheduled for next month, Kremline said on Saturday.

Putin’s possible attendance at the BRICS summit is delicate for both countries because of anĀ arrest warrant issued against him in March by the International Criminal Court (ICC), accusing him of the war crime of deporting Ukrainian children to Russia.

As a member state of the International Criminal Court (ICC), South Africa, along with other ICC members, is obligated to arrest Putin if he enters their territory due to the warrant.

Russia, however, argued that the warrant was “outrageous” and legally invalid since Russia is not a member of the ICC.

The Kremlin has not yet made a public statement regarding Putin’s intention to attend the summit.

In their Saturday statement, they mentioned that Ramaphosa briefed Putin on the preparations for the event.

Kremlin said during the conversation, Putin reiterated to Ramaphosa that the commitments to remove barriers for Russian food and fertilizer exports had not been fulfilled.

The grain deal is set to expire on Monday unless Russia agrees to an extension.

Russia has repeatedly said that due to unfulfilled commitments, it sees no justification to extend the grain deal, which was initially established a year ago to facilitate Ukraine’s grain exports from its Black Sea ports despite the ongoing conflict with Russia.

Although Russia has previously made threats to withdraw from the deal, it has ultimately chosen to renew it at the last minute.

The Kremlin said that Putin and Ramaphosa are scheduled to engage in bilateral talks on the sidelines of the upcoming Russia-Africa summit in St Petersburg, which is set to take place later this month.

It said the summit would continue discussion of an African peace initiative on the Ukraine war, a plan that Ramaphosa and others presented to Putin last month, but which has shown no sign of gaining traction.

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