The peace initiative delegation formed by African countries under the leadership of South Africa came to the capital, Kiev, to hold talks.
The delegation includes President of the Comoros Azali Assoumani, President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, President of Senegal Macky Sall, President of Zambia Hakainde Hichilema, Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbuli as well as representatives of the heads of state of Congo and Uganda.
African leaders, who started their Ukrainian contacts with a visit to the city of Bucha, visited the cemetery where 458 civilians allegedly killed by the Russians were buried.
African leaders, who toured the open-air exhibition on Mihailov Square, where Russian military equipment destroyed in the war, later met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
At the joint press conference, Zelenskiy stated that Russia clearly stated that allowing any meeting while on its territory means freezing the war.
Stating that Russia has been trying to deceive everyone for a long time, Zelenskiy said, “Obviously Russia is now trying to go back to its old primitive deception tactics, but Russia will no longer be able to deceive the world. It is absolutely impossible to fool Ukraine. We need real peace, which means a real withdrawal of Russian troops from all our independent lands.” said.
“We say both sides need to de-escalate”
South African President Ramaphosa stated that the war should be resolved through diplomatic means.
Underlining the need to reduce the tension in the conflict, Ramaphosa said, “We heard about missile attacks during our visit today. Such actions do not work well for peace. Therefore, we say that both sides should de-escalate the tension, find a way for peace and resolve the situation.” he said.
Pointing out that the sovereignty of states and peoples should be respected in accordance with the UN Charter, Ramaphosa said that all countries need security guarantees.
Saying that both Ukraine and Russia should provide grain and fertilizer exports, Ramaphosa said, “One of the reasons we came here is that Africa was also affected by the negative results of this war. Our grain prices have gone up, we have a fertilizer shortage and prices have gone up.” he said.
Ramaphosa added that prisoner exchange, including the return of children, should be mandatory.