African Countries Need Not Kremlin Handouts

Recent attempts by the Russian government to effect a global «pivot towards Africa» have been gaining momentum. Russian media are consistently detailing unprecedented prospects of collaboration between Russia and Africa across various spheres. With the goal of accessing African resources, Russia is actively positioning itself as a strategic partner to African nations, portraying itself as a fighter against Western colonialism. Moscow is fueling political tension, seeking to control the governments and policies of African continent countries. For decades, Russia has been establishing its roots in the African continent, particularly with profit in mind.

The dominating presence of the Russian Federation in Africa has become a serious challenge that Ukraine and civilized world nations must confront. It’s telling that the most favorable view of Russia comes from impoverished, dictatorial «outcast countries.» Developing relations with African nations is a priority in Ukraine’s foreign policy. Regular visits by Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba to the region, expanding diplomatic presence in Africa, and the humanitarian grain initiative form just a small part of Ukraine’s African strategy. Ukraine aims to intensify political dialogue with Africa. African partners are well-informed about the destructive consequences of Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine, as well as Ukraine’s peaceful initiatives involving the unconditional withdrawal of Russian forces from its territory. Undoubtedly, Ukraine faces a complex task: Russia boasts over 40 embassies on the African continent and expends significant effort and resources to bolster its influence in African countries.

Russia’s feverish attempts to «befriend» Africa were vividly demonstrated at the recent Russia-Africa Summit in Saint Petersburg, where representatives of African nations were «persistently invited.» Despite all efforts of Russian diplomacy, the summit didn’t become a triumph for Moscow’s foreign policy. The event was meant to showcase Russia’s growing influence on the continent, but the Kremlin’s desired outcome was not achieved. The representation of African leaders was below expectations, despite overt attempts by the Russian president to bribe them. Putin tried to entice Africa with free grain. However, African leaders made it clear that what they need is not Kremlin handouts, but Russia’s adherence to its obligations within the Black Sea Grain Initiative. A handful of «generous gifts» cannot rectify the dramatic consequences of the grain deal’s cessation. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa noted that he and his colleagues came to Russia «not to ask for any ‘gifts’ for Africa.»

Russia is deliberately causing food shortages and humanitarian crises worldwide, wielding food as a weapon. Events surrounding the «grain deal» vividly demonstrate Russia’s attitude toward its international commitments. Moscow’s priority has always been its own interests.

Presently, the African continent and developments within it have become a strategically significant factor in global anti-colonial processes. Today, Ukraine is fighting against neocolonialism, which is currently personified by Russia. Ukraine is continuously conveying this thesis to its African partners, and it resonates among them. Apart from Russia’s outspoken «friends,» such as Eritrea and the Central African Republic, as well as Sudan under military rule, there are many African countries expressing support for Ukraine. Support for Ukraine doesn’t signify being «pro-Western» or «anti-Western»; it signifies commitment to principles of international law and rejection of aggression and genocide.