Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin met with an African peace team seeking to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
The team, which met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Friday, met Putin in St. Petersburg’s Constantine Palace.
Azali Assoumani, President of the Comoros, led the trip, which also included South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbuli, and chiefs of state from Congo and Uganda.
The meeting was also attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Policy Advisor Yuriy Ushakov. The meeting went on for more than three hours.
‘We are open to a constructive dialogue’
“We are open to a constructive dialogue with anyone who wants to establish peace, based on justice principles and taking into account the legitimate interests of the parties,” Putin stated at the start of the conference.
After hearing Ramaphosa’s 10-point peace proposal, Putin stated that the crisis in Ukraine began with the “unconstitutional, bloody state coup” supported by the West in 2014, and that the coup is the “power source” of the current administration.
Noting that Russia supports certain Ukrainians who have stated that they will not accept the administration that came to power in the coup because of historical and cultural links, Putin stated that the Minsk Agreement was signed between the parties to address the situation peacefully.
Putin stated that the Kyiv administration withdrew from the peace process by failing to adhere to the peace agreements: “After that, Russia had to recognise the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic, which were established on Ukrainian territory, after eight years of declining to do so.”
Putin stated that their recognition of those administrations is in accordance with international law and the UN Charter, and that “according to the UN Charter, these administrations can declare their independence.”