Putin spoke to BRICS leaders via videoconference, as he did not appear at the summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, after an international arrest warrant was issued.

Putin made the following remarks at the opening of the summit:

Letters to the West

  • Getting rid of the dollar as a global currency is irreversible.
  • We are working to find better financial settlement mechanisms, away from Western mechanisms, because the BRICS countries are reducing their peg to the dollar.
  • This summit will discuss various issues related to the transition to our local currencies and the application of this in our financial dealings between our five countries (BRICS countries).
  • The New Development Bank (affiliated with the Group) has become a reliable alternative to Western financial institutions and has an important role in strengthening economic interdependence among the countries of the Group.
  • BRICS cooperation is based on mutual respect, and investment in BRICS countries has increased 6-fold.
  • Western sanctions are hampering Russia's food supply and bank payments.
  • There are challenges for the BRICS from energy price fluctuations and irresponsible actions from several countries.

Messages on Africa and the Grains Agreement

  • Putin stressed that Russia will remain committed to providing the food needs of countries in need, especially Africa.
  • Russia is, and will continue to be, a reliable food supplier for Africa.
  • They are able to compensate Ukrainian grain exports with good production this year.
  • We will not return to the grain agreement without meeting Russian demands.
  • Russia is ready to distribute Russian fertilizers held in western ports free of charge.

Summit Duration and Agenda

The BRICS summit includes 5 economies: Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa, and lasts for 3 days.

The summit is the first face-to-face meeting of the group's leaders since the coronavirus pandemic, with the exception of Putin, who spoke via videoconference.

The five BRICS countries will have to agree on the criteria for new members before accepting any country, which Moscow and Beijing prefer given their strained relations with the West.