During their visit to St. Petersburg, representatives of several African countries called on Russia to enter into negotiations with Ukraine. "We would like to encourage you to start negotiations with Ukraine," said the head of the African Union and President of the Comoros, Azali Assoumani, according to the Interfax agency at a meeting with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said: "We are convinced that the time has come for both sides to start negotiations and end this war."
According to the delegation, which also includes representatives from Egypt, Senegal, Zambia, the Republic of Congo and Uganda, it has drawn up a ten-point plan as part of its peace initiative. However, after almost 16 months of Russian war of aggression, the hope of success is extremely slim. Before their visit to St. Petersburg, the delegation visited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kiev on Friday.
Putin, who himself ordered the invasion of the neighboring country on February 24, 2022, once again blamed Ukraine for the fact that there are currently no peace negotiations. Kiev, on the other hand, repeatedly makes it clear that a withdrawal of the Russian occupying forces is a condition for talks. But Russia insists on recognizing several illegally annexed Ukrainian territories as Russian.
For African states, ending the war is in their own interests
Many African countries are suffering greatly from the war in Ukraine because they depend on grain and fertilizer exports from Russia and Ukraine. South Africa's President Ramaphosa has now demanded that all obstacles to the international mediated grain agreement be removed.
Russia, on the other hand, is currently particularly dependent on good contacts with African states due to the departure of former Western partners. A summit of the Brics countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in August in South Africa is also being eagerly awaited, to which Putin has also been invited: because he is now being sought with an international arrest warrant for his aggressive war, he would be there threatened with arrest.