The spokesperson for South Africa’s president has drawn criticism for suggesting a Russian missile attack on Kyiv on Friday didn’t happen and was “deliberate misinformation.”

Vincent Magwenya arrived in the Ukrainian capital on Friday morning, June 16, as part of an African delegation attempting to broker a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine.

Shortly after they arrived, Kyiv was targeted by a Russian missile attack. Kyiv Post reporters – as well as every other media organisation present in the city – saw and heard the missiles in the skies over the capital, and witnessed several loud explosions as they were intercepted.

South African President Ramaphosa himself, during a press conference after meeting Ukrainian President Zelensky, acknowledged reports of missile strikes and expressed concern that such things hinder peace efforts.

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Despite this, Magwenya told South African news outlet News 24 that he had not witnessed anything to suggest an attack took place.

It's very strange that we didn't hear or see an explosion,” he said. There's obviously some deliberate misinformation being spread here. People are going on about their day.”

Such is the frequency of air raid sirens and actual attacks in Kyiv that many people – either through choice or necessity due to work commitments for example – do not go to bomb shelters and instead carry on as normal, a fact Magwenya misinterpreted as evidence the attack did not occur.

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Referring to a short video he posted on Twitter around the time the air alert was in place, he said of the reports of explosions: “From my own experience and those I am travelling with, yes, I am disputing it. Watch the video I shared.

We were all perplexed when we were taken back to the hotel and passed streets where people were going on about their day as normal. It's very strange and is, in a way, deliberate misinformation.

He added: “As we expected this mission was never going to be easy but some of the hurdles are deeply disturbing, like the treatment you all received and others outright amusing, like this so-called explosion.”

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Magwenya’s comments were swiftly taken up by Russian state media as evidence the missile attack was faked.

His comments drew heavy criticism on social media, with British journalist Oz Katerji saying: “Vincent Magwenya, I had never heard of you before today, but congratulations for making it to my ‘biggest liars in the world’ list in under 24 hours. That’s a new record.”

Following the Kyiv visit, the African delegation will travel to St. Petersburg, Russia, where they will meet President Vladimir Putin on June 17.

But the neutrality of some of those has been questioned. South Africa has refused to condemn Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and has only deepened military ties with Russia since it began.

In an article for Kyiv Post, Ukrainian MP and Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, Oleksandr Merezhko, said there are “serious questions around credibility where the so-called ‘neutrality’ of member nations is concerned.”

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He added: “Moreover, it is very difficult for Ukrainians to accept the neutral character of some members of the African delegation, including South Africa and Uganda, the latter whose president Yoweri Museveni has said that he saw no reason to criticize Russia after the invasion in extolling its virtues, and whose son, the army commander, welcomed the Russian invasion.

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Comments (12)

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Joseph Swanson
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No surprise. Before entering Ukraine SA delegation was denied Italian air space and was allowed to go through Poland where they landed. Upon landing, Polish authorities found two containers full of weapons by the SA delegation. SA delegation of course then cried...racism because they were not allowed to proceed with their two containers full of weapons.

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Pierre Mare
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As a South African, I'm deeply embarrassed by this entity called "the presidential Spokesperson", who is playing pocket billiards and the source of deliberate misinformation. What an utter numbty, and he is a graphic demonstration of the psychotic leadership within RSA.

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jacek
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Dirty monkey.

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Scott D
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The South African government is in bed with Mad Vlad and the Orcs, that much was clear before the African nations trip to Kyiv and Moscow, and is abudently clear to most now.

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Florian Danzinger
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South Africa has become a hellhole with the world's highest murder rate. I covertly exports arms to Russia and hosts the ugly lying toad going by the name of Lavrov. When the representatives of the thoroughly corrupt ANC open their claptraps, they lie. Whose godforsaken idea was it, to welcome that sort of scum to Ukraine?

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I support
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Everybody has a peace plan but they all favor Russia. That is not a peace plan that's surrender everyone has to realize peace will happen when Russia leaves. They are the aggressor not Ukraine.

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Joseph Swanson
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No one should be surprised that the usual suspect nations that are communist like china and south africa and others that support communism, will always support communist russia and go against Ukraine.

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he did nothing wrong,  however he is part of the "time wasters" who went to talk to clueless comedian masquerading as a president
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I'm a South African, he did nothing wrong by supporting Russian Military 🪖 Operation in that is ensuring Russian National security interests are intact from Nazi infested Ukraine led zelensky who is naive and clueless in geopolitical matters hence he is still whining, crying and nagging to join imperialist Western Gang ( NATO)

Mark
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@he did nothing wrong, however he is part of the "time wasters" who went to talk to clueless comedian masquerading as a president, ì

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Mark
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I'm guessing this lying piece of donkey sh*t is just another of Putin's many cock-holsters! he's in good company with Kim-Dong and Trump and the rest of the world's dumbass authoritarians. NATO needs to destroy Russia!!

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Clifford Smith
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South African here. Please understand that Magwenya is an unreformed Marxist and big fanboy of Russian Imperialism. He should have been fired from this post a long time ago for his complete inability to conduct himself diplomatically. If you follow him on Twitter he insists on using the Soviet spelling "Kiev" although in the last 2 days he's started using Kyiv most likely yielding to many complaints about his most rude behavior in this regard.
His Twitter handle is @SpokespersonRSA and I encourage all Ukrainians to visit his page and commend him for his "Damascus Road Moment" in this regard and encourage him to open his eyes further to the multiple atrocities of the Moscow regime he so clearly worships.

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Alan van Rensburg
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I’m South African and I’m deeply embarrassed by our so called ANC government. Every second of their miserable existence is dedicated to destroying our beautiful country. The sooner we get rid of these scum the better. Hopefully their followers eyes have been opened and they will vote them out.

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Jason
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He's South African so that is what you get.

David
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@Jason,

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David
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@Jason, oops, trying again... Yeah. How do you know an ANC official is lying? His lips are moving.

Florian Danzinger
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@David, exactly. I don't know why those liars were invented at all. Being profound liars and thoroughly corrupt, they are PooTin's best buddies.

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