It’s not certain if the West or Ukraine will accept South African President Cyril Ramaphosa as an intermediary after he blamed NATO for the conflict in Ukraine and stated he would oppose attempts to criticise Russia.
According to Ramaphosa, the war could have been prevented if NATO had listened warnings from inside its own ranks over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to more rather than less instability in the region.
“We cannot condone the use of force and the breach of international law,” he said, referring to Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
The actions of the Russian government have been described by President Vladimir Putin as a “special operation” aimed at disarming and “denazifying” Ukraine in response to what he sees as NATO aggression.
In the eyes of Kiev and its Western backers, Russia’s unprovoked attack was an attempt to subdue a neighbour Putin labels a fake state.
Russian President Vladimir Putin directly told Ramaphosa that conversations were progressing. Said that he had not yet spoken to Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, but that he was eager to.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Friday that Russia had asked South Africa to mediate in the Ukraine-Russia conflict. He didn’t disclose who urged him to step in and intervene.
“It’s being argued that we should take a really hostile approach against Russia. Instead, we’re going to insist on discussion as our method of action “Ramaphosa was quick to give his two cents. Screaming and yelling will not solve this problem.”
As a member of South Africa’s governing African National Congress party since 1994, Ramaphosa has extensive ties to the Soviet Union, which provided training and support to anti-apartheid campaigners during the Cold War.
Since its smooth transition to democracy, South Africa has retained its high diplomatic clout relative to its economic size, although several of Russia’s Western adversaries view it with distrust.
“Some are even contacting us on a role that we can play (mediating),” Ramaphosa said on Thursday, citing South Africa’s longstanding unwillingness to take sides.
“Even if we don’t want the attention that other countries get, we’re getting it. Condemning (a) single (side) effectively eliminates our ability to play a role in it “she said.