Ukraine vows to deepen Africa ties to ‘free’ continent from ‘Russia’s grip’

Ukraine vows to deepen Africa ties to ‘free’ continent from ‘Russia’s grip’

Ukraine is ready for a “long-term” fight to “revive” Kiev’s relations with Africa and reduce Moscow’s “grip” on this continent, which is based on “coercion, corruption and fear,” Ukraine’s top diplomat Dmytro Kouleba declared in an interview last week.

After decades of oblivion, Ukrainian officials have now vowed to invest significant political capital to deepen ties with Africa as a diplomatic ‘counteroffensive’ against Russia’s efforts to woo the continent. “We are starting from scratch in Africa. This continent needs systematic and long-term work. It’s not something that happens overnight,” said Kuleba who has already made three tours in the continent since last fall. Kiev has launched this diplomatic operation in Africa aiming to obtain a support in the face of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

If “most African countries” still display their “neutrality” in the face of the conflict, “a slow erosion of Russian positions in Africa is underway,” the minister has assured, citing Liberia, Kenya, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Rwanda and Equatorial Guinea among Kiev’s new partners on the continent.

“Our strategy is not to replace Russia but to free Africa from Russia’s grip,” Kuleba said, adding that Ukraine wanted to approach those diplomatic interactions with “respect and with the principle of mutual benefit.”

Moscow’s abandonment of Black Sea grain deal in July raised fears of a rise in cereal prices which particularly affects the poorest countries, not least in Africa.

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