African leaders have demanded Vladimir Putin ends his war in Ukraine, putting forward a series of proposals to defuse the conflict.
The peace plan came on the second day of a Russia-Africa summit in Saint Petersburg. Ideas included a Russian troop pull-back, removal of Kremlin tactical nuclear weapons from Belarus, suspension of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant against Putin and sanctions relief.
The Russian president told African leaders that Moscow respected their peace proposal and was “carefully studying it” at the summit yesterday.
African Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat told him: “This war must end. And it can only end on the basis of justice and reason.
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“The disruptions of energy and grain supplies must end immediately.
“The grain deal must be extended for the benefit of all the peoples of the world, Africans in particular.”
While not directly critical of Russia, the interventions were more forceful than those that African countries have voiced until now. Speaking at the summit, Putin claimed Russia was increasing food supplies to Africa, including some free grain shipments that had been announced on Thursday.
The Kremlin despot is believed to be using the series of meetings to strengthen his country’s relationship with various African nations, with Moscow having become increasingly isolated since its illegal invasion began in February last year.
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He was pictured shaking hands with Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni during a welcoming ceremony at the summit.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was seen at a ceremony marking yesterday’s Day of Ukrainian Statehood in Mykhailivska Square, Kyiv.
The event came as Russia’s defence ministry claimed a Ukrainian drone was shot down near Moscow.
It was the third alleged drone strike or attempt on the capital region this month. There were no injuries or damage, the ministry added. It comes as the war with Ukraine enters its 18th month.
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