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29 Mar, 2024 09:35

Putin and South African leader discuss possible Ukraine peace

Moscow is ready for “serious” talks to end the conflict, the Russian president has said
Putin and South African leader discuss possible Ukraine peace

Russia remains committed to engaging in substantive discussions about a political and diplomatic resolution to the Ukraine conflict, which has lasted for more than two years, President Vladimir Putin has reiterated.

Putin made the comment to his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, who mentioned the African peace mission for the Russia-Ukraine crisis during a phone call on Thursday, the Kremlin said in a statement.

“In light of the peace initiative advanced by African states to resolve the Ukraine crisis, Cyril Ramaphosa briefed Vladimir Putin on South Africa’s intention to continue working in this area with due regard for Russia’s legitimate interests,” it stated.

Last June, the South African president led a seven-member delegation of leaders from across the continent under the African Peace Initiative to Russia and Ukraine, seeking to secure ceasefire commitments from both sides. Moscow expressed interest in exploring further a ten-point plan proposed by the mission, but Kiev has insisted that the only acceptable peace formula is Russia’s unconditional withdrawal from all territories Ukraine claims as its own.

Leaders of the diplomatic mission, who have all declared non-alignment in the dispute, have said they cannot remain silent while the fighting continues because it has exacerbated the continent’s economic hardships.

Aside from the Ukraine conflict, during the Thursday call, Ramaphosa expressed “deep condolences and feelings of solidarity” to Moscow following last Friday’s massacre at Crocus City Hall and discussed a variety of areas of cooperation with Putin, including energy and trade.

“The leaders expressed satisfaction with the current level of strategic partnership between their countries,” the Kremlin said, adding that they also talked about interactions within the expanded BRICS group as Moscow takes over the bloc’s chairmanship from Pretoria.