The African plan to resolve the war in Ukraine did not include a clause on the withdrawal of Russian troops. The key wording voiced by the head of the delegation, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, called for immediate peace talks and “de-escalation on both sides”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky disagreed with this approach, noting that it would not stop the war. “Allowing any negotiations with Russia now that the occupant is on our soil means freezing the war, freezing the pain and suffering. <…> We need real peace, which means a real withdrawal of Russian troops from all our independent land”, he said after talks with a delegation of African Union leaders.
Zelensky invited the mission participants to take part in the Global Peace Summit and join the Ukrainian peace formula.
Earlier, the office of the President of Ukraine also criticized the “peace initiatives” based on calls for dialogue without concrete actions. “Any negotiation process with the current Moscow regime is impossible. <…> There are no “Russian-fragile”, Indonesian, Brazilian, or African “foundations” for this at all. The aggressor must get out of foreign territory, finally losing his own army and the reputation of the country to be feared”, said Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the office.
His boss, Andrii Yermak, called for unity around Zelensky’s “peace formula”. “There is no alternative to it. And we should discuss further steps at the Global Peace Summit”, he stressed.
The African plan contains 10 points. Among them are early peace negotiations, de-escalation of the conflict “on both sides”, the sovereignty of states and peoples in accordance with the UN Charter, and security guarantees for all countries. Three points relate to humanitarian support for victims, the exchange of prisoners, the return of children and post-war reconstruction. African leaders also called on both countries to ensure the movement of grain and fertilizers.
The European Union will not support the peace plan of African leaders if it involves freezing the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, EU foreign policy spokesman Peter Stano said the previous day. “We want a peace that restores the rights of Ukrainians, their sovereignty and territories. If someone can convince Russia to leave Ukraine, we will certainly support it. If we are talking about a cease-fire, fixing existing positions, that is not peace”, he stressed.
Russia is ready to start peace talks with Ukraine, but only if Kyiv recognizes “geopolitical realities”, President Vladimir Putin said in March of this year. The fact that Moscow’s demands include de facto recognition of the annexation of Ukrainian territories was stressed by the Foreign Ministry and the Kremlin.
Ukraine, on the other hand, insists on Zelensky’s “peace formula”, according to which the key condition for negotiations is the complete withdrawal of Russian troops from the country’s territory within the 1991 borders.