Russia did not ‘refuse negotiations’ with Ukraine – Lavrov 

Russian International Minister Sergei Lavrov was welcomed by his South African counterpart for talks in Pretoria on Monday, in a go to that has sparked criticism in opposition to the backdrop of the warfare in Ukraine.

A continental powerhouse, South Africa has refused to sentence Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and resisted taking sides over the warfare. 

The battle has triggered sweeping Western sanctions in opposition to Moscow and makes an attempt go away it diplomatically remoted. 

Russia a ‘valued accomplice’

South African International Minister Naledi Pandor thanked Lavrov for the “most great assembly” after the talks, which she earlier mentioned would have helped “strengthen the already good relations” between the 2 nations. 

Sitting alongside Moscow’s prime diplomat she described Russia as a “valued accomplice”. 

South Africa just lately assumed the chairmanship of the BRICS, a grouping that additionally contains Brazil, Russia, India and China to problem the dominant US and European-led international governance buildings.

Final week, it introduced it can host 10-day joint maritime drills with Russia and China off the port metropolis of Durban and Richards Bay in February.

However the hyperlinks with Moscow have triggered criticism within the nation, with some accusing the federal government of getting deserted its impartial stance. 

“It’s turning into more and more clear that the South African authorities is brazenly siding with Russia,” mentioned Darren Bergman, a lawmaker with the principle opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) celebration.

“Pleasant engagement” with Russia was “not acceptable” until aimed toward persuading it to finish its involvement in Ukraine, he mentioned. 

Lavrov advised a press convention that Russia didn’t “refuse negotiations” with Ukraine.  

“However those that refuse should perceive that the longer they refuse, the harder it’s to discover a resolution,” he mentioned. 

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Officers in Moscow have blamed the closure of diplomatic channels on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has mentioned he won’t negotiate whereas Russian chief Vladimir Putin is in energy.

Regardless of the general public overtures, the Kremlin has to date proven little willingness to melt its strategy on the bottom.

Ukrainians protest in opposition to the go to

In Pretoria, members of Ukrainian neighborhood in South Africa held a small protest in opposition to the go to, with some waving indicators studying “Go dwelling Lavrov” and “Cease the lies! Cease the warfare”.

Final week, the inspiration of late South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, referred to as the deliberate naval workouts “disgraceful” and “tantamount to a declaration that South Africa is becoming a member of the warfare in opposition to Ukraine”.

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Pandor defended the drills, saying they had been a part of the pure course of relations between nations. 

“All nations conduct navy workouts with buddies,” she mentioned.