Russia did not “reject” negotiations with Ukraine – Lavrov

Russian International Minister Sergey Lavrov was acquired by his South African counterpart for talks in Pretoria on Monday, a go to that has drawn criticism amid the battle in Ukraine.

South Africa, a continental powerhouse, has refused to sentence Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has resisted taking sides within the battle.

The battle has triggered sweeping Western sanctions in opposition to Moscow and makes an attempt to diplomatically isolate it.

Russia as a “valued associate”

South African International Minister Naledi Pandor thanked Lavrov for the “most great assembly” after the talks, which she earlier stated helped strengthen “the already good relations” between the 2 nations.

Sitting subsequent to Moscow’s high diplomat, she described Russia as a “valued associate”.

South Africa just lately took over the management of the BRICS, a grouping that additionally consists of Brazil, Russia, India and China, to problem the dominant US- and European-led international governance constructions.

Final week it introduced it will host 10-day joint sea workouts with Russia and China off the port metropolis of Durban and Richards Bay in February.

However the hyperlinks to Moscow have sparked criticism within the nation, with some accusing the federal government of abandoning its impartial stance.

“It’s changing into more and more clear that the South African authorities is overtly siding with Russia,” stated Darren Bergman, an MP for the primary opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) social gathering.

A “pleasant engagement” with Russia is “not acceptable” except it goals to steer it to finish its involvement in Ukraine, he stated.

Lavrov informed a press convention that Russia had not “refused” negotiations with Ukraine.

“However those that refuse should perceive that the longer they refuse, the tougher it’s to discover a answer,” he stated.

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Officers in Moscow have blamed the closure of diplomatic channels on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has stated he is not going to negotiate whereas Russian chief Vladimir Putin is in energy.

Regardless of the general public overtures, the Kremlin has proven to this point little willingness to melt his actions on the bottom.

Ukrainians protest in opposition to the go to

In Pretoria, members of South Africa’s Ukrainian neighborhood staged a small protest in opposition to the go to, with some indicators studying ‘Go residence Lavrov’ and ‘Cease the lies! cease the battle”.

Final week, the muse of the late South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, referred to as the deliberate naval drills “disgraceful” and “tantamount to a declaration that South Africa is becoming a member of the battle in opposition to Ukraine.”

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Pandor defended the workouts, saying they’re a part of the pure course of relations between nations.

“All nations are conducting army workouts with pals,” she stated.