The Ukrainian Association of South Africa finds President Cyril Ramaphosa’s mediation style in the Russia-Ukraine conflict strange as he has spoken only to the aggressor, Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The president said he was grateful for the conversation he had with his Russian counterpart whom he said explained what was happening in that “theatre of war”.
He also explained SA’s position and reasons for abstaining from the motion to reprimand Russia.
Ramaphosa said SA abstained because the resolution did not address issues that would engender and encourage mediation and peaceful negotiation.
“We still expressed to him that we want the conflict to be subjected to mediation and he accepted that so we are grateful for the conversation that we had.
“It happened at our insistence. We asked for it because we felt that we needed to hear from him,” the president said.
He was speaking on the sidelines of his imbizo in the North West at the weekend, responding to questions on the telephonic conversation he had with Putin, which he tweeted about on Thursday.
Ramaphosa said he would be talking to other world leaders as well, also to explain the stance and the position SA has taken.
But Dzvinka Kachur, president and founder of the Ukrainian Association of SA, said Ramaphosa has not spoken to or made attempts to speak to President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“What kind of mediation is that? That you speak to one party, the aggressor?” she said.
Kachur said they doubted there was even a mediation. She said to their knowledge Ramaphosa and Putin discussed the Russia-Africa summit scheduled for October-November.
The association denied Russian embassy claims they were recruiting SA mercenaries to fight in Ukraine, saying this was Russian propaganda.
“Yes our president has made the call for people to volunteer but SA is not one of the countries we are recruiting from,” he said.
Following her meeting with Democratic Alliance leader John Steenhuisen in Cape Town on Friday, Ukrainian ambassador Liubov Abravitova said Ramaphosa had not made any contact with
“Why has he not spoken to the Ukraine ambassador here in SA? It just shows that they are attempting, ahead of the debate this week, to put some veneer of respectability on their moral treachery in this matter,” he said.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Tyrone Seale is yet to respond to whether Ramaphosa had made any attempt to speak to Zelensky.
Department of foreign affairs spokesperson Clayson Monyela, wrote in the Daily Maverick that “we have adopted a non-aligned position” and “we call on all sides to uphold international law, humanitarian law, human rights, and the principles of the UNCharter, and to respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
He then went on to detail the security concerns of Russia. He said Nato had breached its commitments – after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989-90 – not to expand eastwards.
Monyela made no mention of any current or past Ukraine concerns about the actions of their powerful eastern neighbour.
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