During a phone conversation with his Ukrainian colleague Volodymyr Zelenskyy, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa urged for an end to the crisis in Ukraine, saying that the conflict threatens Africa’s food security.
On Thursday, Rampahosa claimed the two talked about the “tragic human cost” of Moscow’s attack as well as its “global ramifications.”
He tweeted, “we agree on the need for a negotiated end to the conflict which has impacted Ukraine’s place in global supply chains, including its position as a major exporter of food to our continent.”
Moreover, Ukraine is a significant supplier of wheat and grain to Africa, among other goods, and the country’s weeks-long conflict has interrupted supply and driven up prices, raising worries of a food catastrophe.
According to Zelenskyy, he warned Rampahosa about Ukraine’s “resistance to Russian aggression” and the “threat of a global food crisis” was addressed.
Ramaphosa has so far rejected demands to criticize Russia’s incursion.
He accused the transatlantic, US-led NATO military alliance for not listening to Moscow’s concerns about its eastward expansion in mid-March.
Following a contentious discussion with Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 10, he also asserted that South Africa’s “neutrality” allowed it to “talk to all sides” about the situation.
South Africa’s decision to abstain from voting on a UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s attack, along with 34 other nations, prompted condemnation from the United States and its NATO allies.
Cyril Ramaphosa is the president of the African National Congress (ANC), which has ruled South Africa since 1994, when white minority rule ended.
Because of then then Soviet Union support for the South Africa’s anti-apartheid fight, the ANC has significant links to Russia and regards itself as a champion of the non-aligned movement.