South African President Ramaphosa blames NATO for Russia's war in Ukraine

2022-03-17 21:10:26
South African President Ramaphosa blames NATO for Russia's war in Ukraine

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday blamed NATO for the war in Ukraine and said he would resist calls to condemn Russia.

"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.

Ramaphosa did, however, say South Africa "cannot condone the use of force and violation of international law", an apparent reference to Russia’s war in Ukraine, which Moscow calls a "special operation.

"There are those who are insisting that we should take a very adversarial stance against Russia. The approach we are going to take (instead) is ... insisting that there should be dialogue," Ramaphosa added. "Screaming and shouting is not going to bring an end to this conflict."

Ramaphosa also revealed that Russian President Vladimir Putin had assured him personally that peace negotiations were making progress. The South African leader said he had not yet talked with Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

On Friday, Ramaphosa's office said South Africa had been asked to mediate in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and that he had told Putin it should be settled through negotiations. He did not say who had asked him to intervene.

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