Russian President Vladimir Putin explained his reasons and goals of the special military operation in Ukraine to President Cyril Ramaphosa during their telephone conversation on Thursday, initiated by the latter.
According to the Kremlin also informed Putin Ramaphosa about the situation regarding talks with representatives of the Ukrainian authorities.
“South Africa’s president supported the ongoing political and diplomatic efforts,” the Kremlin said on its website.
The two leaders also reaffirmed their “commitment to further develop the bilateral strategic partnership, noting in particular their readiness to expand trade, economic and humanitarian cooperation, as well as joint efforts on Covid-19- response.”
This as the two countries celebrate 30 years of diplomatic relations.
“The chairmen underlined the importance of continued interaction within the BRICS framework and in other international locations.”
Ramaphosa’s government has been roundly criticized for its stance and refusal to condemn Moscow for the raging conflict that has killed thousands of civilians and led to the mass exodus of at least 2.2 million people fleeing Ukraine.
The country abstained from voting on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine at the UN General Assembly on March 2.
This was when the UN General Assembly passed a resolution demanding that Russia immediately withdraw from Ukraine.
The resolution was passed after 141 of the 193 member states voted in favor of the non-binding resolution, while five voted against the resolution.
South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mali, Namibia and Mozambique were among the 35 member states that abstained.
South Africa defended its decision, saying that the conflict involved two members of the UN in an armed conflict, and that it was the UN’s responsibility to take decisions and actions that would lead to a “constructive outcome” conducive to is for creating lasting peace between the parties.
SA’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Mathu Joyini, argued in a statement that the UN resolution should have welcomed the start of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, as one of the root causes of the conflict is linked to the parties’ security concerns.
Earlier today, Cabinet repeated appeal from South African government for a “negotiated diplomatic solution” to end Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Presidency Minister Mondli Gungubele said the government urged all parties to uphold and protect human rights during a media briefing in Tshwane on the results of Wednesday’s cabinet meeting.
War in Ukraine
Gungubele said the government remained “deeply concerned” about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying the socio-economic costs of the war were devastating and its impact would be felt around the world.
“The cabinet calls for a diplomatic solution through negotiations and urged all parties to uphold and protect human rights, and to fulfill their obligations under international law and international humanitarian law,” the minister said. .
The minister said the war in Ukraine was a conflict “underlined by complex factors” and this informed decision by the government not to take sides in the matter.
“Russia would have had its reasons” [for invading Ukraine], the West, they have their opinion. But in the end it even leads to people fighting and people dying. How do you fill that in [conflict] you have to ask the question: how do I improve the situation?
“Therefore, South Africa avoids taking sides on this issue, because the best intervention you can do is the best possible solution South Africa can provide,” Gungubele said.
Additional reporting by Thapelo Lekabe