KYIV— Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned African countries against supporting Russia’s aggression on his country, saying the continent had gained little from siding with Moscow.
Zelensky told African journalists on Thursday that it was in Africa’s interest to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine because it would amount to supporting “the truth.”
“They are not investing in any countries. That means Russia does not believe in you. All they are doing is making political investments. They have just one percent of investments in Africa, yet they are 30 times our size,” Zelensky told the online press conference, his first with the continent.
Russia invaded Ukraine in February this year, citing the presence of ‘Nazists’. The military operation was condemned globally, including an unprecedented reprimand from the UN General Assembly in March.
Africa has, however, mostly remained aloof from the conflict. Earlier, the continent had condemned the invasion and called for dialogue. But Moussa Faki Mahamat, the African Union Commission chairperson, refused to endorse sanctions on Russia, arguing they could hurt many more people not involved in the war. In fact, during the UN vote, several African countries, such as Uganda, Eritrea and Ethiopia, abstained or even stayed away.
Kenya, a member of the UN Security Council until December, had initially condemned Russia’s attacks but declined a request by the Ukrainian ambassador to Kenya, Andrii Pravednyk, to address its Parliament. The AU also refused a similar request by Zelensky to address the continental bloc on the issue. Some African countries such as Mali, Uganda, and the Central African Republic have close defence ties with Moscow. They, alongside South Africa, a member of the five major emerging economics bloc BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), abstained from the vote.
On Thursday, Zelensky said Africa should not see the war as distant but look at Ukraine as a victim of an invasion violating international law, which African countries have signed.
He said he would send his Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba to Africa in September.
“We would like the African countries not just to support Ukraine…but they should support the truth. There is no value we can attach to freedom, and Russia cannot be using the oil to buy the freedom of others,” he said.
Source: Nam News Network