Russian President Vladimir Putin will no longer attend the summit of the BRICS group of emerging economies in South Africa next month.
South Africa said he agreed to this decision “by mutual agreement” on Wednesday.
But Russia will be represented by its Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the Johannesburg summit.
“By mutual agreement, President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation will not attend the Summit but the Russian Federation will be represented by Foreign Minister Mr Sergey Lavrov.
In due course, a comprehensive statement on the substantive issues to be covered at the Summit and other related foreign policy matters will be issued,” the presidency said in a statement.
The summit will however host other leaders of Brazil, India, China and South Africa, the South African presidency said in a statement.
South Africa was faced a dilemma as host of the summit and as a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC), to arrest Putin for alleged war crimes if he were to attend.
“President Ramaphosa is confident that the Summit will be a success and calls on the nation to extend the necessary hospitality to the many delegates who will arrive from various parts of the continent and the globe,” the government said.
This would be the 15th Summit of BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
It will be the first BRICS Summit to be hosted in person since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent global restrictions.