The Kremlin has confirmed a telephonic conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Cyril Ramaphosa.
It says the call was initiated by the South African leader who discussed various issues including the current conflict with Ukraine. President Putin is said to have updated President Ramaphosa on ongoing talks with Ukrainian authorities regarding a solution to the war.
The Kremlin says the basis of the call was to strengthen bilateral ties on the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties. The talks reaffirmed both countries’ commitment to develop cooperation in relation to trade as well as COVID-19 recovery programmes.
In relation to the war, President Putin reassured President Ramaphosa that Russia will protect the Donbas region in Ukraine which is controlled by separatist groups aligned with Moscow.
Meanwhile, government has been split in their messaging regarding the war – with some like International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor condemning it and others like Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele choosing a more neutral stance.
When the invasion by Russia happened two weeks ago, President Ramaphosa said at the time that the conflict should be resolved through peaceful engagements:
On Monday, President Ramaphosa gave reasons why South Africa abstained from voting in last week’s United Nations (UN) resolution on the escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
In his weekly letter, Ramaphosa said Pretoria did not vote for or against the resolution because it did not call for meaningful engagement that would end the conflict.
The President said the country used dialogue to end apartheid and conflicts in many African countries insisting that continuing to support the call for negotiation and dialogue, does not render the country’s commitment to human rights any less.
South Africa was criticized for abstaining from the UN Resolution calling on its BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) partner, Russia to withdraw its military forces from Ukraine.
It was among the 17 African nations that abstained.