The leaders of seven African nations hoping for an finish to the battle in Ukraine traveled to Russia Saturday to carry peace talks with Vladimir Putin however acquired a largely detrimental response.
The African delegation — which included presidents of Comoros, Senegal, South Africa and Zambia, in addition to Egypt’s prime minister and prime envoys from the Republic of Congo and Uganda — made the journey to St. Petersburg after visiting Ukraine on Friday.
The self-styled “peace mission” was the primary of its type by the leaders of the African international locations that depend on meals and fertilizer exports from Ukraine and Russia, which have been impeded by the battle.
“This battle is affecting Africa negatively,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa mentioned at a press convention alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and 4 different African leaders after their closed-door talks Friday.
“I do consider that Ukrainians really feel that they need to battle and never quit,” he mentioned. “The highway to peace could be very laborious.”
“There is a have to convey this battle to an finish sooner reasonably than later,” Ramaphosa added.
The group of African leaders notably hail from international locations which have taken completely different stances on Russia and the battle in Ukraine.
Egypt, Zambia, and Comoros voted in opposition to Russia in a United Nations Assembly decision final 12 months condemning the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine whereas South Africa, Senegal, and Uganda have prevented censuring Moscow over the battle.
Saturday, after shows from the Comoran, Senegalese and South African leaders on the group’s 10-point peace plan, and earlier than the opposite delegations made their ready feedback, Putin interrupted to problem the assumptions of the plan.
He maintained that Ukraine and the West had began the battle lengthy earlier than Russia’s Feburary 2022 invasion, and blamed the West for the sharp rise in world meals costs final 12 months.
Putin claimed that Ukrainian grain exports from Black Sea ports that Russia permitted beneath an settlement reached final 12 months have been doing nothing for Africa as a result of they have been going to wealth international locations as an alternative. And he claimed that Russia has by no means refused peace talks with Ukraine.
Russia is “open to constructive dialogue with anybody who needs to ascertain peace on the ideas of equity and acknowledgment of the respectable pursuits of the events,” Putin mentioned.
Russia has repeatedly mentioned that any deal should replicate the “new realities,” that means its annexation of 5 provinces in jap Ukraine.
Zelensky repeated in the course of the group’s go to to Kyiv that peace talks will solely be potential after Moscow withdraws its forces from occupied territory, together with Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2019.
During their go to in Ukraine, Zelensky requested the African leaders to push Putin to free political prisoners from Crimea, which was annexed in 2014.
“Would you please ask Russia to liberate the political prisoners?” Zelensky mentioned. “Maybe this shall be an vital results of your mission, of your ‘highway map’.”
With Post Wires