In response to the news of Russia’s invasion, many countries joined hands in solidarity with Ukraine and condemned Russia’s actions. Some countries even went as far as placing bans and sanctions on Russian businesses and business owners.
During international events, especially sports, it has become a natural sight to see placards and sponsored billboards in solidarity with Ukraine.
Some countries have started raising Relief Funds for victims of attacks in Ukraine. On April 28, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, asked congress to approve the sum of $33 billion for Ukraine.
The American president said the funds were intended to cover the costs of humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine through September.
In the wake of this, many critics have accused African leaders of thinking twice about calling out Russia’s president, Putin – whom the West has branded a terrorist and threat to the world order.
As you would recall, former South African president Nelson Mandela was in the habit of taking sides with leaders who were branded terrorists by the West.
When asked why he still had relationships with, among others, Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat, the Cuban and Palestinian leaders who had been branded terrorists by Western powers. The revered South African statesman replied that it was a mistake “to think that the enemies of the West should be our enemies.”
Many observers believe this is the same approach that some African leaders are taking today. They argue that it would be unwise for African leaders to take sides and roll out sanctions against Russia without first critically analyzing how such sanctions would affect Africa.
One influential voice that has made it clear he will not make an enemy out of Russian leader Vladimir Putin is South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
While addressing his country’s parliament Thursday, he said: “Our position is very clear ... there are those who are insisting that we should take a very adversarial stance and position against, say Russia. And the approach that we have chosen to take ... is we are insisting that there should be dialogue.”
After initially releasing a statement calling for Russia to immediately pull its forces out of Ukraine, South Africa has since laid the blame for the war directly at NATO’s doorstep for considering Ukraine’s membership in the military alliance, which Russia is against.
“The war could have been avoided if NATO had heeded the warnings from amongst its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater, not less instability in the region.” Ramaphosa said in parliament Thursday.
Zimbabwe’s foreign ministry also said in a statement that it was unconvinced that the United Nations resolution was driven towards dialogue. Rather “it poured more fuel to the fire, thus complicating the situation.”
According to the government, Angola’s state-run diamond miner Endiama could face a hit to its operations as Western sanctions on Russia could delay supplies of parts and machinery.
What are your thoughts?
Credit: Reuters, Aljazeera