Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba’s recent tour of African states was cut short by Russia’s mass bombardment of Ukrainian cities on Monday, Oct. 10, including the capital Kyiv.

Despite this, Kuleba has said that the trip did bear some fruit. According to him, African states show great interest in Ukrainian weapons, which have proved their effectiveness on the battlefield.

“We’re not selling at the moment. Everything is being supplied to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. However, in Africa they’re fascinated by our army and our weapons. They’re very fascinated by us and respect all Ukrainians,” Kuleba noted.

He added that while some African countries think positively of Ukraine, fear of Russia as well as brainwashing are also present too. Acknowledging that it is impossible to isolate Putin without African, Latin American, and Asian states, he underlined that dialogue is necessary.

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“We need to work with all this. I’m sure that the result will be attained even though it’ll take some time,” added Kuleba.

Kuleba also stated that one of the African ministers called President Zelensky “a very cool leader.”

Following mass missile strikes on Ukrainian cities Kuleba also called on  African states to discard “neutrality” and strongly condemn Russia’s targeted air strikes on civilians in Ukraine as well as the destruction of critical infrastructure.

“Deliberate targeting of critical civilian infrastructure is a war crime. Russia is striking power stations, which have no military purpose, to deprive the civilian population of its basic needs – heat, electricity and water – amid the onset of cold temperatures. Put all together, actions aimed at Ukrainians by Russia since Feb. 24 and today’s attack amount to genocide,” the message, issued Oct. 10, reads.

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He added that Putin’s terror is aimed not just at the Ukrainian people as it violates the fundamental principles of humanism, the right to live in peace, the right to dignity and security – principles that are of the highest important to all African societies.

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“I urge Africa not to stay neutral. Neutrality will only encourage Russia to continue its aggression and malign activities across the world, including in Africa,” the statement reads.

He added that on Wednesday, Oct. 12, the UN General Assembly will vote on a resolution on condemning Russian aggression and attempts by it to annex Ukrainian territory.

“Ukraine counts on your valuable support for this important document,” the message reads.

Relations between Ukraine and African states have been complicated  by a variety of factors, some of which were elucidated in a recent interview with Serhiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UN.

Kuleba’s tour around Africa came several months after Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov completed a grand tour of the continent.

 

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