Russia has confirmed a phone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Cyril Ramaphosa.
It says the call was initiated by the South African leader who discussed various issues including the current conflict with Ukraine. President Putin is said to have updated President Ramaphosa on the current negotiations with Ukrainian authorities to resolve the issues.
The Kremlin says the call was necessitated to mark the 30th anniversary of bilateral and diplomatic ties. The talks reaffirmed both countries’ commitment to collaborate in relation to trade as well as recovery programmes on COVID-19.
President Putin reassured President Ramaphosa that Russia will protect the Donbas region in Ukraine which is controlled by separatist groups aligned with Moscow.
However, government has been split in their correspondences regarding the war. International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor has condemned the ongoing violence in Ukraine, while the likes of Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele chose a more neutral stance.
When the invasion by Russia happened two weeks ago, President Ramaphosa said at the time that the conflict should be resolved through peaceful engagements:
On Monday, President Ramaphosa gave reasons why South Africa abstained from voting in last week’s United Nations (UN) resolution on the escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
In his weekly letter, Ramaphosa said Pretoria did not vote for or against the resolution because it did not call for meaningful engagement that would bring an end to the conflict.
The President said the country used dialogue to end apartheid and conflicts in many African countries insisting that continuing to support the call for negotiation and dialogue, does not render the country’s commitment to human rights any less.
South Africa was among the 17 African nations that abstained from voting. Many have criticised it for abstaining from the UN Resolution calling on its BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) partner, Russia to withdraw its military forces from Ukraine.