Russia-Ukraine conflict: Ukrainian President Zelensky turns to Africa

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While the war in Ukraine is becoming more and more intense, the President of the Republic of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky met this Monday, April 11 with the current President of the African Union Macky Sall. During this exchange, the Scandinavian expressed the wish to address African nations via the AU.

The communication was made by Macky Sall, President of Senegal and current President of the African Union. In a tweet, the Senegalese said he spoke with the Ukrainian president. The terms of this exchange included the current conflict situation in Ukraine and its impact on the global economy as well as the need for dialogue to end this conflict. Following his digital communication, Macky Sall also mentioned the fact of having taken note of Zelensky’s desire to address Africans through a communication to the African Union.

So one naturally wonders what Ukraine can expect from Africa. What will Volodymyr Zelensky say to African heads of state even though many Africans have suffered and continue to suffer acts of racism from Ukrainians in the process of evacuating the country. Moreover, African states have shown real support for Vladimir Putin and Russia since the start of the conflict. This support actually reflects the rupture between Western and American politics in the world. A policy with which the Ukrainian president seems to be in phase. He who has constantly proclaimed loud and clear his desire to join the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It should be noted, however, that since the start of the conflict, the AU has always advocated dialogue and called for a ceasefire on both sides. Even if during the UN General Assembly, Africa’s position surprised the world.

On March 2, when the United Nations instituted a vote leading to a resolution binding Russia to immediately stop the strikes in Ukraine, Senegal was one of 35 countries to abstain from voting. 141 countries voted for and 5 voted against. Similarly, in the April 7 vote excluding Russia from the Human Rights Council, 24 African countries abstained, 9 voted against and 9 voted for. This clearly demonstrates Africa’s position in this conflict. If the heads of state are playing the card of caution and abstention, the populations for their part do not hesitate to openly show their support for Putin. Pro-Putin demonstrations were organized in several African cities like Bangui, Bamako and Douala.

In addition, Senegal had already risen in early March with Kyiv after the Ukrainian embassy in Dakar published an announcement to come and fight in Ukraine and said it had recruited 36 people. Macky Sall then recalled that Senegal respects its adherence to the principles of non-alignment and peaceful conflict resolution. This shows how difficult it will be for Volodymyr Zelensky to find strong supporters in Africa.

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