ANI Photo | “This war has to have an end…”: South Africa’s President tells Putin

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa told his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, that the war in Ukraine has to end, Al Jazeera reported on Saturday.
“This war has to have an end… It must be settled through negotiations and through diplomatic means,” Ramaphosa said on Saturday in St Petersburg at the 18th-century Konstantinovsky Palace.
He added his delegation, consisting of seven African leaders, “came with a very clear message: that this war has to be ended”.
Ramaphosa arrived in St Petersburg on Saturday in the Russian Federation for the continuation of the African Peace Mission to the Ukraine and Russia conflict.
“This war is having a negative impact on the African continent and indeed, on many other countries around the world,” Al Jazeera quoted Ramaphosa saying.
Ramaphosa also laid out the 10 points of the African peace initiative that is seeking agreement on a series of “confidence-building measures” – even as Ukraine last week began a counteroffensive to push back Russian forces.
Meanwhile, Putin reiterated his position that Ukraine and the West had started the conflict long before Russia sent its armed forces over the border in February last year. He said Russia had never refused talks with the Ukrainian side, which had been blocked by Kyiv.
Putin praised the “balanced approach” of African countries towards the Ukraine conflict, reported Al Jazeera.
“We welcome the balanced approach of African friends to the Ukraine crisis,” Putin told the visiting leaders. “We’re open to constructive dialogue with all those who want peace based on the principles of respect for each other’s interests, as well as justice,” Putin said.
The Russian leader also said exports of Ukrainian grain under a deal ensuring its safe passage through the Black Sea were not helping to resolve Africa’s problems with high global food prices – as only 3 per cent has gone to the poorest countries.
Putin said the food crisis had been caused by the actions of Western countries, not by what Russia calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
It is pertinent to mention that his arrival in Russia’s cultural capital, follows constructive discussions with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine on 16 June 2023, according to the statement released by South Africa’s President.

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