(Reuters) – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Saturday that Russian leader Vladimir Putin would not be arrested in Brazil if he attends the Group of 20 meeting in Rio de Janeiro next year.
Interviewed on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Delhi by news show Firstpost, Lula said Putin would be invited to next year’s event, adding that he himself planned to attend a BRICS bloc of developing nations meeting due in Russia before the Rio meeting.
“I believe that Putin can go easily to Brazil,” Lula said. “What I can say to you is that if I’m president of Brazil, and he comes to Brazil, there’s no way he will be arrested.”
The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Putin in March, accusing him of the war crime of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine. Russia has denied its forces have engaged in war crimes, or forcibly taken Ukrainian children.
Putin has repeatedly skipped international gatherings, and was not present at the G20 get-together in Delhi, sending Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Brazil is a signatory to the Rome Statute which led to the founding of the ICC. Lula’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Saturday, the G20 nations adopted a consensus declaration that avoided condemning Russia for the war in Ukraine but called on all states not to use force to grab territory.
(Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Richard Chang)