According to Putin, the Russian Federation withdrew from the grain agreement because it allegedly did not justify its humanitarian purpose. But Ukrainian intelligence, referring to the data of the intercepted report for the top military and political leadership of Russia, declared that all actions of Moscow regarding the disruption of the grain agreement are part of a single plan developed in advance. Kyiv calls on African countries to join international efforts to restore the supply of Ukrainian agricultural products to the continent, FREEDOM reports.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba began his tour of African countries with a visit to Equatorial Guinea. The Head of Ukrainian Diplomacy met with the President of the Chamber of Deputies and the Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament, and also held talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“The first visit of Kuleba last autumn was very successful. But it was partially interrupted due to Russian shelling. In the spring there was another visit – quite successful: East Africa, in particular, a successful visit to Ethiopia, where Kuleba met with the President of Ethiopia. This is a significant factor for many African states,” commented the head of research programs of the non-governmental analytical center “Ukrainian Studies of Strategic Studies” Yurii Oliynyk.
The head of Ukrainian diplomacy also met with the president of Equatorial Guinea. The main topics of the negotiations are the development of bilateral relations, the peace formula of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi, and food security in African countries.
“I had the honor of being received by President Teodoro Obiang Ngema Mbasogo in Jibloho. I confirmed Ukraine’s desire to advance our relations with Equatorial Guinea,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter.
Ukraine’s special representative for the Middle East and Africa Maksym Subkh called on Egypt to support the Ukrainian peace formula and join international efforts to restore the supply of Ukrainian grain to the African continent during a telephone conversation with Egypt’s deputy foreign minister.
“Thanks to the Black Sea “grain corridor”, through which more than 1.4 million tons of agricultural products were delivered to Egypt, Ukraine remains a reliable guarantor of the food security of the Arab Republic of Egypt, as well as many other countries in Africa and the Middle East,” says the message on the Ministry’s website of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
The President of Ukraine held the first telephone conversation in the history of bilateral relations with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. Volodymyr Zelenskyi and Abiy Ahmed Ali discussed Russia’s unilateral withdrawal from the grain agreement, the Russian Federation’s illegal blockade of shipping in the Black Sea, the Russian army’s shelling of Ukrainian grain warehouses and port infrastructure, as well as preparations for the Global Peace Summit.
“As part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Ukraine sent almost 300,000 tons of food to Ethiopia and another 90,000 tons of grain as part of a separate #GrainfromUkraine initiative. Ukraine is still ready to remain the guarantor of world food security… It is necessary to create a platform for dialogue with African countries. The voice of Ethiopia, the African Union, and the whole of Africa is very important to us,” President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized in Telegram.
According to analysts, representatives of African countries plan to talk about the need to unblock the grain corridor at the Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa also plans to discuss his initiatives to achieve peace in Ukraine at the summit. This was reported by the Financial Times with reference to South African officials. But whether such a discussion will be productive is a big question.
“The Russia-Africa summit is already the second, the first was in 2021, but then there were completely different conditions in the world and around Russia. Therefore, it is very important who will come there, who will ignore this measure and what will be the attitude of African states to the statements that Russia will make. That is why Kuleba’s visit to African countries is very important right now,” says Yury Oliynyk, head of research programs of the non-governmental analytical center “Ukrainian Studies of Strategic Studies”.
Most of the leaders of African states refused to participate in the “Russia-Africa” summit. Only 17 of the 54 African countries will be represented at the level of heads of state. The delegations of 10 more African countries will be headed by the prime ministers. Almost half of the participants of the summit sent delegations at a lower level: 17 of them are headed by deputy prime ministers and ministers, five are ambassadors, five more refused to participate in the event.
As a reminder, the Russia-Africa summit will be held on July 27 and 28 in St. Petersburg (Russia). This year, the summit will be held against the backdrop of Russia’s announcement to withdraw from the grain agreement and the Russian army’s massive shelling of Ukrainian grain warehouses. For decades, Putin has sought to increase his influence on the African continent. Blackmail with food supplies is a method that helps the Kremlin maintain leverage over the region.