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South African president arrives in Ukraine to meet Zelensky

by Dinara Khalilova June 16, 2023 10:45 AM 2 min read
A screenshot from a video published by South African Presidency showing the arrival of South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa to Ukraine on June 16, 2023. 
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South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa arrived in Ukraine on June 16 under the African Peace Mission for negotiations with President Volodymyr Zelensky.

According to the South African Presidency, Ramaphosa arrived at the railway station in Nemishaeve, a village near Bucha in Kyiv Oblast.

He was received by Ukraine's Special Envoy for Africa and the Middle East Ambassador Maksym Subkh, as well as South African Ambassador to Ukraine Andre Groenewald.

Earlier, Ramaphosa's office reported that the president was en route to Kyiv as part of an African delegation aiming to "initiate a peace process" between Ukraine and Russia. The next day after the Kyiv visit, the group will head to the Russian city of St. Petersburg and meet with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

Except for Ramaphosa, the delegation includes leaders of Senegal, Egypt, the Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Comoros, and Zambia.

Reuters reported on June 15 that the African delegation would propose Ukraine and Russia "confidence-building measures," which might include withdrawing Russian forces from Ukraine, removing tactical nuclear weapons from Belarusian territory, and suspending the International Criminal Court's arrest warrant against Putin.

According to the Associated Press, the delegation also plans to discuss the export of Ukrainian grain and Russian fertilizers.

Although most African countries declared neutrality in the war, Moscow has long maintained good relations with the governments of the African continent.

As Ukraine looks West, Russia wins over Africa
Since its independence, Ukraine’s diplomatic efforts have focused primarily on looking West. Meanwhile, Russia has set its sights all over the world. While the Euro-Atlantic world has been firm in its support of Ukraine, condemning Russia’s all-out war, the African continent, home to 54 countries a…
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