Brazilian president says Russian leader will be invited to the G20 meeting in Rio de Janeiro next year.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has said that Russian leader Vladimir Putin will not be arrested in Brazil if he attends the Group of 20 meeting in Rio de Janeiro next year.

Lula, speaking to the Firstpost news show at the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Delhi on Saturday, said Putin would be invited to next year’s event.

He added 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 statement comes after the International Criminal Court (ICC) 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 Sergey 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.

The consensus came as a surprise as the G20 is deeply divided over the war in Ukraine, with Western nations earlier pushing for strong condemnation of Russia in the Leaders’ Declaration, while others demanded a focus on broader economic issues.

“We call on all states to uphold the principles of international law including territorial integrity and sovereignty, international humanitarian law, and the multilateral system that safeguards peace and stability,” the declaration said.

“We … welcome all relevant and constructive initiatives that support a comprehensive, just, and durable peace in Ukraine.

“The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible,” the statement added.

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