Russian President Vladimir Putin has told the leaders of the Brics group of emerging economies that their growing influence will lead to a multipolar world.
Addressing the summit in Johannesburg by video, Mr Putin said he opposed the sway exerted by the G7 and other western-led groups.
“The Brics countries are increasingly becoming a determining force in the global economy,” he said. “We are moving towards a multipolar world, where the interests of all countries will be taken into account.”
Mr Putin is unable to attend the summit in person because he faces an international arrest warrant over Ukraine.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has also called for the expansion of Brics, saying it would make global governance fairer.
“Brics has become a major platform for dialogue and cooperation between emerging markets and developing countries,” he said. “We should continue to expand our cooperation and make Brics a more influential force in the world.”
Countries including Iran, Ethiopia and Algeria have expressed interest in joining Brics. However, Brazil has cautioned against making the grouping an alternative to the G7.
“We should not see Brics as a counterweight to the G7,” Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said. “We should see it as a complementary force that can help to make the world a more just and equitable place.”
A press conference planned for later has been cancelled with leaders locked in closed-door negotiations.
The Brics summit comes amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, which has led to a realignment of global power. The war has also exacerbated the economic crisis in many developing countries.
The Brics leaders are expected to discuss ways to boost cooperation and support each other in the face of these challenges.