Ramaphosa's call to Zelensky a 'very strong signal to Putin' - Ukranian ambassador

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President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Jeffrey Abrahams, Gallo Images
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa held a discussion with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday night.
  • The call centred around cooperation between the two countries, according to Ukraine's ambassador to South Africa Liubov Abravitova.
  • South Africa has been criticised for not taking a stronger stance on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainian ambassador to South Africa Liubov Abravitova believes a call between President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, has sent a strong signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ramaphosa and Zelensky spoke on Wednesday night in a call, which was confirmed by Abravitova to News24.

The ambassador said she facilitated the call but could not divulge many details on its content.

Abravitova said in her view, the call sent a strong message to Putin.

She said it had been the first conversation between Ramaphosa and Zelensky in a long time. The dialogue between the two men centred on cooperation between South Africa and Ukraine.

"They discussed the resistance of Ukraine, and they discussed relations between Ukraine and South Africa, and cooperation. These are the main points. The call was the first communication between the presidents in a long time. I believe it is a very strong signal to Vladimir Putin, this call. This is my evaluation of the call," Abravitova told News24.

"Had a phone conversation with @CyrilRamaphosa. Told about our resistance to Russian aggression. Discussed the threat of a global food crisis, deepening relations with the Republic of South Africa and cooperation within international organisations," Zelensky tweeted on Wednesday night.

READ | President Cyril Ramaphosa defends SA's decision to abstain from UN vote on Russian invasion

Talks between Ramaphosa and Zelensky come a month after Ramaphosa held a similar discussion with Putin.

Ramaphosa said the call had centred around the war in Ukraine and the country gaining an understanding of the situation.

"I outlined our position on the conflict that has unfolded, as well as our belief that the conflict should be resolved through mediation and negotiation between the parties and – if need be – with the help of agencies that can help bring a solution to the conflict," Ramaphosa said on his Twitter account in March.

Fence-sitting

The government has been heavily criticised for sitting on the fence in Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

In March, South Africa abstained from voting on a United Nations (UN) resolution on the conflict in Ukraine.

Ramaphosa defended this decision, News24 reported, saying the conflict between the two European countries should be solved through mediation.

In April, South Africa again abstained from voting on a UN resolution to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council because of the invasion of Ukraine.


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