Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with several African leaders in Moscow next week to discuss the situation in Ukraine, the Kremlin announced on Wednesday. The meeting, which will take place on August 2, will include the presidents of South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and Egypt, as well as the chairperson of the African Union Commission.
According to the Kremlin, the meeting will focus on “the development of multifaceted cooperation between Russia and Africa, as well as current regional and international issues, including the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis”. The Kremlin added that Putin and the African leaders will also exchange views on “the prospects for enhancing the role of Africa in the global political and economic arena”.
The meeting comes amid rising tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine, where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting against the government forces since 2014. The US and its allies have accused Russia of massing troops near the Ukrainian border and threatening to invade, while Russia has denied any aggressive intentions and blamed the West for provoking the conflict.
The African leaders are expected to express their support for a peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian crisis, based on the respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the implementation of the Minsk agreements, which outline a roadmap for ending the war. The African leaders are also likely to seek more cooperation with Russia on trade, investment, energy, security and development issues.