Ramaphosa and other African leaders to meet Putin

President Cyril Ramaphosa with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during the Russia-Africa summit.

Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

President Cyril Ramaphosa is due to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg on Saturday after he left Kyiv.

Ramaphosa is part of a group of leaders from Africa who are trying to foster peace between Russia and Ukraine.

But analysts believe it will be a difficult mission to get Putin to agree to the demands by the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, that he will consider talks with Russia if Putin pulls out of Ukraine.

Ramaphosa, the President of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema, the Prime Minister of Egypt, Mostafa Madbouly, the President of the Comoros, Azali Assouamani, and the President of Senegal, Macky Sall, are on a peace mission to Ukraine and Russia.

Ramaphosa said it would take negotiations to end the conflict in Ukraine.

He said they were in Kyiv to listen to Zelensky and will also be listening to Putin in St Petersburg on Saturday.

Hichilema also said they were going to listen to Putin.

“Having met and listened to the president of Ukraine, Zelensky, we are now on our way to St Petersburg, Russia, to meet and listen to Putin in our continued quest to finding a lasting solution to ending the conflict between Russia and Ukraine,” said Hichilema.

Professor Bheki Mngomezulu from the Nelson Mandela University said it will be a difficult mission to get Putin to agree to the demands laid out by Zelensky.

Zelensky said he wanted Russia to pull out of Ukraine.

“I don’t think they will succeed in getting Putin to pull out of Ukraine,” said Mngomezulu.

He added that the African leaders also went to Ukraine and Russia when the continent was facing its own problems.

He said conflict was raging in Sudan and the Sahel region.

The conflict in Sudan started two months ago and it has led to a humanitarian crisis, with many people fleeing the country into neighbouring states.

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