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Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022, Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate and defend the inhabitants of the Donbass region, where people have been suffering from a blockade and regular attacks by the Kiev regime's forces since 2014.

Russian President Putin to Welcome African Ukraine Peace Initiative Delegation on Saturday

© Sputnik . POOL / Go to the mediabankRussian President Vladimir Putin speaks by video conference to officials from Crimea, March 17, 2023.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks by video conference to officials from Crimea, March 17, 2023. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 14.06.2023
Mid-May saw the announcement by South African President Ramaphosa of the African peace mission to Russia and Ukraine. He said that the Ukrainian issue had been resolved by Moscow and Kiev agreeing to host an African delegation with a peace proposal.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with the representatives of the delegation of seven African countries in St Petersburg on June 17 to discuss the initiative on the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Ukraine, Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov said on Wednesday.
"A very important international meeting will take place on Saturday, June 17. The Russian President will receive a delegation of African states in St. Petersburg to discuss the African initiative for the peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian conflict," Ushakov told a briefing.
The representatives of the African delegation will hold talks with the leadership of Ukraine in Kiev on June 16 before vising Russia, Ushakov added.
"Before that, the African delegation will visit Kiev, that is, on June 16 they will hold talks with the Ukrainian leadership and also present their views, listen to the assessments of [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky, and then a detailed conversation with our president will take place against this background," the Kremlin representative said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) shakes hands with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (R) prior to a family photo with heads of countries taking part in the 2019 Russia-Africa Summit at the Sirius Park of Science and Art in Sochi on October 24, 2019 - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 06.06.2023
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According to him, "the parties agreed several times on the possible dates of the visit of the African delegation."

"It was not easy, because this delegation consists of the leaders of seven African countries," Ushakov explained.

He clarified that the delegation of the African nations will be headed by the President of the Union of the Comoros, Azali Assoumani, due to the fact that he is the Chairman of the African Union, it will include South African President Cyril Ramaphosa as one of the active authors of the negotiations' concept, the Presidents of Zambia, the Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Uganda Hakainde Hichilema – Denis Sassou-Nguesso, Macky Sall, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the Prime Minister of Egypt Mostafa Madbouly.
Ushakov recalled that the African initiative "was first announced by the President of South Africa, discussed several times over the phone between him and Putin".

"One can imagine how difficult it is to organize a visit of such a delegation, which includes seven countries, six of them at the highest level, Egypt - at a very high level, but everything is agreed," the Kremlin representative shared.

According to him, "in the preliminary plan, the content of the African initiative was discussed during Putin's telephone contacts with the president of South Africa."
Ushakov drew attention to the fact that "the African leaders agreed among themselves, first of all, that they would create a delegation that would be ready to go to Kiev and Moscow."
"This proposal without any specific content was voiced during one of the conversations between Putin and the President of South Africa, we immediately said: "Of course, if you are ready to discuss with us, we never refuse to do it, welcome, come," said the assistant to the Russian leader.
He clarified that the specific ideas of the African initiative were formulated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa.
A harvester collects wheat in Semikarakorsky District of Rostov-on-Don region near Semikarakorsk, Southern Russia, Wednesday, July 6, 2022. Russia is the world's biggest exporter of wheat, accounting for almost a fifth of global shipments. Agriculture is among the most important industries in Russia, accounting for around 4% of its GDP, according to the World Bank. (AP Photo) - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 24.05.2023
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"But to what extent they are shared by all seven African states, I do not know, that is, the degree of preparation of this initiative is not yet sufficiently known to me," Ushakov admitted.

He also stated that Vladimir Putin will discuss the future of the grain deal during a meeting with African leaders on the Ukrainian settlement on June 17.
"This [the future of the grain deal] is first of all, one of the specific issues that will be discussed," Ushakov told reporters.
According to Ushakov, most of the African nations have confirmed their participation in the second Russia-Africa summit, despite the fact that the West exerts powerful pressure on them.

"They [African countries] are under the most powerful pressure from the United States and other Western countries. Nevertheless, the participation of the majority of African States in our summit has already been confirmed. Let's see how it all turns out in reality, but the preparation is very active," Ushakov said.

He recalled that the summit will be held on July 27-28 in St. Petersburg and "will be very important for the further development of our relations with the countries of the African continent."