Africa and Ukraine are “in the same boat”, the head of Ukrainian diplomacy said on Thursday, stating that “each Russian rocket not only hits Ukrainians but also affects the quality of life of Africans”.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba toured the African continent last week and earlier this week, visiting Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Kenya, among others. Mr. Kouleba had cut short his stay in Africa on Monday, following the massive Russian attacks in Ukraine.
“We are in the same boat,” Mr. Kouleba said during a virtual press conference organized with African media, mentioning, in particular, the impact of the war on “world food security”.
-Grains delivered to Africa-
He added that “830,000 tons of cereals have been delivered to African countries” since July.
Ukraine and Russia are among the world’s largest grain exporters, whose prices soared after the start of the war. The opening of an export corridor in the Black Sea has helped stem the increase.
Mr. Kouleba also welcomed Wednesday’s vote by the UN General Assembly on a resolution condemning “illegal annexations” of Ukrainian territories.
The General Assembly of 193 member states, meeting in a state of emergency since Monday, adopted this resolution with 143 votes in favor, against five countries and 35 that abstained.
“I was particularly pleased to see that the four countries I visited in Africa … supported this resolution,” Kouleba said.
Eritrea, one of the most closed countries in the world that rejected in March the resolution condemning the invasion of Ukraine, abstained this time. “This is a step in the right direction,” said Dmytro Kouleba.
Kouleba also pointed to the abstention of the Central African Republic, “a country militarily dependent on Russia” where mercenaries from the Russian paramilitary company Wagner have been deployed for several years.
“Russia’s biggest investment in Africa is sending Wagner mercenaries,” he said.
Asked about recent statements by Kenyan President William Ruto, who said he was open to buying Russian oil, the Ukrainian chief diplomat said that “Kenya voted in favor of the resolution”, before continuing that the country “had the sovereign right to do what he wants.
Mr Kouleba said Ukraine was “ready to welcome President Macky Sall”, the Senegalese head of state and current chair of the African Union, but no date had been set.