Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday met with a group of leaders of African countries who traveled to Russia on a self-styled "peace mission" the day after they went to Ukraine, but the meeting ended with no visible progress.
African leaders hoping to mediate in the Ukraine war aimed to bring the two leaders to the negotiating table, even if it was a difficult prospect.
The delegation is "seeking a road to peace to the 16 months long conflict between Ukraine and Russia which has thus caused devastating economic impact, loss of life and global instability," the statement said.
African leaders visited Kyiv after calling for "confidence building measures". They met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and discussed a "peace mission".
Zelenskyy said that Moscow should withdraw its forces from occupied Ukraine as a condition for peace. Otherwise, he added, negotiations with Russia are unacceptable.
"Today, I have clearly said repeatedly at our meeting that to allow any negotiations with Russia now that the occupier is on our land means to freeze the war, to freeze pain and suffering," he told journalists in a press conference after the meeting.
Many African countries have been impacted by the Ukraine war, well into its second year, in particular with grain prices soaring.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa's office had previously described the peace initiative as "the first time that Africa is united behind the resolution of a conflict outside of our continent, and where you have a group of African heads of state and government traveling together in an attempt to find a path to peace to this conflict".
While Ramaphosa has said he is "taking sides in a contest between global powers" and seeking a negotiated end to the conflict, Western powers have criticized the African leaders for failing to condemn the invasion.
Source: npr - Reuters - CNN