KYIV, UKRAINE (AFP) – A delegation of African leaders and officials visited Ukraine on Friday to seek ways to end all-out war with Russia and secure food and fertilizer supplies for the continent. bottom. But wartime Kiev, albeit with air raids. Let me remind you of the challenges they face.
The delegation, which includes the presidents of South Africa, Senegal, Zambia and the Comoros, first visited Bucha on the outskirts of Kyiv last year, where civilian bodies littered the streets after Russian forces abandoned their campaign to capture the capital and withdrew. Was. Capital Area.
The delegation’s stay in Bucha was symbolic, as the city of Bucha has become a symbol of the atrocities of Moscow’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Hundreds of civilians died in the streets and mass graves when the Russians occupied Bucha. Some showed signs of torture.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said last month that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin had agreed to separate meetings with members of an African peace mission.
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The delegation was set to travel to St. Petersburg later Friday, where Russia’s top international economic conference is taking place, and meet with Putin on Saturday. It also includes senior officials from Uganda, Egypt and Congo-Brazzaville.
The members of the delegation represent a cross-section of African views about the war. South Africa, Senegal and Uganda have avoided censuring Moscow for the conflict, while Egypt, Zambia and Comoros voted against Russia last year in a U.N. General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s invasion. Many African nations have long-standing and close ties to Moscow, dating back to the Cold War, when the Soviet Union supported its anti-colonial struggles.
During their stay in Bucha, visitors laid memorial candles at a small memorial in front of St. Andrew’s Church, near one of the sites where mass graves were excavated.
Shortly thereafter, air raid sirens began to ring in the Ukrainian capital. Mayor Vitali Klitschko reported that an explosion occurred in one of the city’s oldest districts, the Podirsky district.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba tweeted that “Russia wants more war, not peace.” advertisement
The Ukrainian Air Force said it had shot down six Russian Kalibr cruise missiles, six Kinzhar hypersonic missiles and two reconnaissance drones. No details have been released as to where the plane was shot down.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Friday that Germany would deploy 64 more Patriot missiles to Ukraine to protect it from relentless Russian airstrikes.
Officials involved in laying the groundwork for the delegation’s talks said African leaders not only wanted a peace process to begin, but also that Russia, which was under severe international sanctions, was urgently needed in Africa. He also said he would like to consider how he can pay for the cost of fertilizer exports, which are currently in the works.
The two leaders will also discuss the related issue of how to secure more grain shipments from war-torn Ukraine and will explore the possibility of another prisoner exchange. Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema told The Associated Press: “Life is universal and we must protect Ukraine’s life, Russia’s life and the world’s life.” “Instability everywhere is instability everywhere.”
The African peace strike comes as Ukraine launches a counterattack to force Kremlin forces out of occupied territories. Attacks along a 1,000 km (600 miles) front line used modern weaponry supplied by the West. Western analysts and military officials have warned the operation could be lengthy.
China presented its own peace plan at the end of February, but it seemed unlikely to succeed. Ukraine and her allies have largely rejected the plan, and the belligerents are unlikely to come close to a ceasefire.
Ukrainian Army General Staff spokesman Andriy Kovalev said in a statement on Friday that the Ukrainian army had recorded achievements on three fronts in the south and east.