South African President Cyril Ramaphosa this Friday appealed to Ukraine and Russia for a “de-escalation”, during a visit to Kiev with a delegation of African leaders, but the Ukrainian President rejected any commitment with Moscow.
“There must be a de-escalation on both sides”, declared Ramaphosa at a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Today while we were here, we heard talk of missile attacks and this type of hostilities are not positive to favor peace,” added Ramaphosa.
The arrival of the delegation of African leaders to Kiev — which also included a trip to Bucha, on the outskirts of the capital, where the Russian army is accused of massacring civilians — coincided with a Russian missile attack, which according to the Ukrainian authorities was intercepted .
Then the delegation – which includes presidents Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), Macky Sall (Senegal), Hakainde Hichilema (Zambia) and Azali Assoumani (Comoros, who currently heads the African Union), as well as Congolese, Ugandan and Egyptians – should travel to Russia for a meeting on Saturday with Vladimir Putin.
At the press conference, Zelensky again ruled out any negotiation with Russia, which intends to “fool the world”.
“Today I made it clear during our meeting [com a delegação africana] that allowing any negotiations with Russia now, when the occupier is on our land, means freezing the war, freezing the pain and suffering,” said the Ukrainian president.
Russia, accused the Ukrainian President, “tried for a long time to deceive everyone with the Minsk peace agreements”, concluded in the past to try to resolve the conflict with the separatists supported by Moscow in eastern Ukraine, while preparing the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
“It is clear that Russia is again trying to use its old deception tactics. But Russia will not be able to continue deceiving the world. We will not give them a second chance,” he said.
In a Telegram message after meeting African leaders, Zelensky said that “what can stop this war” is “obviously the end of Russian terror and the withdrawal” of forces from Moscow.
The Ukrainian President also noted that the delegation of African leaders discussed how to achieve “a true and just peace, without blackmail or Russian deceit”.
Zelensky also stressed that “all nations in the world deserve to live free, without imposing the will of others through military and political means”, and that no country is safe as long as Russia makes aggression and annexation of foreign territories a “global norm”. .
The armed conflict in Ukraine, which started with the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022, plunged Europe into what is considered the most serious security crisis since the Second World War (1939-1945).