African leaders to visit Ukraine, Russia to find a solution: Ramaphosa
According to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, six African leaders plan to visit both Russia and Ukraine “as soon as is possible” to help bring an end to a deadly war that has been continuing for over a year, killing thousands, deepening hunger and exacerbating energy crisis.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky have agreed to receive the peace mission and the heads of state from Africa, in both Moscow and Kyiv, Ramaphosa said Tuesday.
Speaking at a press conference in the country during a state visit by the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, Ramaphosa said he recently held separate phone calls with Putin and Zelensky, where he presented an initiative drawn up by South Africa, Egypt, Uganda, Senegal, Zambia, and the Republic of Congo.
Although the South African leader didn’t reveal a specific timeline for the upcoming visit or other details, he expressed his hope of having intensive discussions.
Further elaborating, Ramaphosa said the African Union (AU) and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have been briefed on the initiative and that they welcomed it.
He called the war in Ukraine “devastating”, adding Africa had also been severely impacted by it. Rising grain prices and the conflict’s impact on world trade have evidently been taking a toll on African countries.
The announcements on the peace mission came a day after Ramaphosa said South Africa had been under immense pressure to pick sides in the war, following accusations from the US Ambassador Reuben Brigety that Pretoria had supplied weapons to Moscow amid the conflict – despite its neutral stance.