After a delegation of African leaders from South Africa, Egypt, Senegal, Congo-Brazzaville, Comoros, Zambia, and Uganda visited Ukraine and Russia with peace proposals to end the war between the two neighbours, reactions from both Moscow and Kiev have shown that the warring countries remain worlds apart.
The African delegation led by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa put forward a 10-point proposal, including a recognition of Russia and Ukraine’s sovereignty and continued unhindered grain exports.
However, Russia and Ukraine remain rooted in their positions.
Both Ukraine and Russia reiterated before and after the African peace mission that they would not come to the negotiating table without certain basic preconditions.
For Ukraine, it wants its borders as they were in 1991 to be reinstated.
This essentially would mean Russia withdrawing from all the territories it has seized from Ukraine in the past decade, including the Crimean Peninsula.
The Kremlin is deeply opposed to this, arguing instead that in order for negotiations to take place, Kiev would have to accept its country’s “new territorial reality”.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday said that talks with the Africa delegation would continue.
Ukraine presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said African leaders have no power, capacity and competence to resolve the crisis.
They are only doing it for their geopolitical goals, including receiving resources from Russia and “primitive” information gathering on behalf of the Kremlin.
Analysts say Kiev won’t embrace peace proposals unless and until its Western sponsors’ geopolitical goals have been achieved.