Putin hails 'balanced approach' of African countries on Ukraine conflict

AFP , Saturday 17 Jun 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday praised the "balanced approach" of African countries towards the Ukraine conflict, ahead of formal talks with the delegation aiming to push for peace between Kyiv and Moscow.

In this handout photo provided by Photo host Agency RIA Novosti, Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with a delegation of African leaders and senior officials in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, June 17, 2023. AP


"We welcome the balanced approach of African friends to the Ukraine crisis," Putin told African leaders from seven countries.

The high-level diplomatic team, which went to Kyiv on Friday, hopes to bring to the table the voice of a continent that has badly suffered from the repercussions of the Ukraine conflict including by rising grain prices.

"We are open to a constructive dialogue with all those who want to implement peace based on the principles of justice and respect for the parties' legitimate interests," Putin said.

The delegation, which arrived in Russia Saturday a day after talks in Ukraine, includes four presidents: South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa, Senegal's Macky Sall, Zambia's Hakainde Hichilema and Comoros' Azali Assoumani, who also currently heads the African Union.

The leaders of Uganda, Egypt and Congo-Brazzaville pulled out of the visit at the last moment and sent representatives instead.

"In Russia, we highly respect the position of African countries in support of global stability... and support their desire for a pacifist policy," Putin said.

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