President Ramaphosa discusses conflict and the human costs with Ukrainian counterpart

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President Cyril Ramaphosa says he spoke to his Ukrainian counterpart President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about human costs and the global ramifications since the conflict broke out in February.

After weeks of planning, President Ramaphosa had a telephonic conversation with Zelenskyy.  This comes as Russia says it wants to get rid of nationalists backed by the West, but the West has blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for unprovoked aggression.

President Ramaphosa says they have agreed that a negotiated settlement can end the war.

Ukrainian ambassador in South Africa Liubov Abravitova had accused South Africa of inaction regarding the conflict with Russia, saying Pretoria must support their cause.

President Ramaphosa says, “We agree on the need for a negotiated end to the conflict which has impacted Ukraine’s place in global supply chains, including its position as a major exporter of food to our continent. President Zelenskyy anticipates closer relations with Africa in future.”

Vladimir Putin

Recently, President Ramaphosa also had a telephonic chat with his Russian Counterpart President Vladimir Putin. South Africa has been neutral in the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

The Kremlin 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 conflict.

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 conflict, President Putin reassured President Ramaphosa that Russia will protect the Donbas region in Ukraine which is controlled by separatist groups aligned with Moscow.

VIDEO: President Ramaphosa says at the time that the conflict should be resolved through peaceful engagements:

Additional reporting by Noma Bolani.