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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Putin explains his reasons and goals of ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine to Ramaphosa

According to the Kremlin, Ramaphosa supports the 'ongoing political and diplomatic efforts'.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has explained his reasons and goals of the special military operation in Ukraine to President Cyril Ramaphosa during their telephonic conversation on Thursday, initiated by the latter.

According to the Kremlin, Putin also informed Ramaphosa about the situation regarding talks with representatives of the Ukrainian authorities.

“The President of South Africa supported the ongoing political and diplomatic efforts,” said the Kremlin 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 Covid-19 response efforts.”

This as the two countries celebrate 30 years of diplomatic relations.

“The presidents underscored the importance of continuing interaction within the BRICS framework and at other international venues.” 

Ramaphosa’s government has been roundly criticised over its stance and refusal to condemn Moscow for the raging conflict, that has claimed thousands of civilians’ lives and led to the mass exodus of at least 2.2 million people fleeing Ukraine. 

The country abstained from voting on the Russia-Ukraine conflict at the UN General Assembly on 02 March.  

This as the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that demanded Russia to immediately withdraw from Ukraine. 

The resolution was adopted after 141 out of 193 member states voted for 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 from the vote.

Defending its decision, South Africa said the conflict involved two members of the UN in an armed conflict, and it was the UN’s responsibility to take decisions and actions that would lead to a “constructive outcome” conducive to the creation of sustainable 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 commencement of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, as one of the root causes of the conflict is related to the security concerns of the parties. 

READ MORE: Why South Africa abstained from Ukraine vote at UN General Assembly 

Earlier today, Cabinet reiterated the South African government’s call for a “negotiated diplomatic solution” to end Russia’s war in Ukraine. 

Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele said government urged all parties to uphold and protect human rights, during a media briefing in Tshwane on the outcomes of Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting. 

War in Ukraine 

Gungubele said government remained “deeply concerned” by Russia’s invasion into Ukraine, saying the socio-economic cost of the war were devastating and its impact would be felt around the world. 

“Cabinet calls for a negotiated diplomatic solution and urged all parties to uphold and protect human rights, and abide by their obligations in terms of 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 goverment’s decision not to take sides on the matter. 

“Russia would have had their reasons [for invading Ukraine], the West, they have their views. But at the end of the day, it actually results in people fighting and people dying. How you enter that [conflict] you must ask the question: how I’m I improving the situation? 

“That’s why South Africa avoids taking any side on this matter because the best intervention you can make, is the best possible solution that can South Africa provide,” Gungubele said. 

Additional reporting by Thapelo Lekabe

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Cyril Ramaphosa Russia Ukraine Vladimir Putin

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