South Africa adds its voice to those calling for Russian withdrawal from Ukraine

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What Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin called a “special military operation” in Ukraine has been widely condemned as an invasion with South Africa joining the chorus of international state voices for Putin to withdraw immediately from the eastern European country.

“South Africa is dismayed at the escalation of conflict in Ukraine. We regret the situation has deteriorated despite calls for diplomacy to prevail,” a statement issued by Department of International Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO) spokesman Clayson Monyela said.

It continues: “Armed conflict will no doubt result in human suffering and destruction, the effects of which will not only affect Ukraine but reverberate across the world.  No country is immune to the effects of this conflict. As the UN Secretary-General (Antonio Guterres) indicated, the conflict will have a huge impact on the ‘global economy in a moment when we are emerging from the COVID pandemic and so many developing countries need to have space for the recovery”’

“South Africa calls on Russia to immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine in line with the United Nations Charter, which enjoins all member states to settle international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered.

“South Africa emphasises respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.

“As a nation birthed through negotiation, South Africa is appreciative of the potential dialogue has in averting crisis and de-escalating conflict. In line with our strong commitment to peaceful resolution of conflict, South Africa urges all parties to devote increased efforts to diplomacy and find a solution that will help avert further escalation.

“The door of diplomacy should never be closed even as conflict breaks out. We urge all parties to approach the situation in a spirit of compromise, with all sides respecting international law. In light of escalating conflict, we call on all parties to resume diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the concerns raised by Russia.

“South Africa further calls on all parties to uphold and protect human rights and abide by obligations in terms of international law and international humanitarian law,” the statement reads, adding the country “continues to support and encourage regional initiatives such as the Minsk Agreements and welcomes the work of the Normandy Format, the Trilateral Contact Group and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)”.

“South Africa calls on the UN Security Council to play its role in the search for peace. The Security Council remains the primary body with the mandate to maintain international peace and security and it must exercise its responsibility in this regard. We believe the good offices of the UN Secretary-General could make a positive contribution in finding a lasting solution to this conflict.”

The South African embassy in Kyiv is, according to Monyela, monitoring developments “closely” and assisting South Africans in Ukraine.