THE President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky once again ruled out any possibility of negotiation with Russia, after meeting with African leaders who tried to mediate between Kiev and Moscow.

“Today I said it clearly during our meeting (s.s. with the African mission) that to allow now a negotiation with Russia, when the conqueror is on our lands, means to freeze the war, to freeze the suffering and pain,” he said at a joint press conference with African leaders.

Before invading Ukraine in February 2022, “Russia tried for a long time to deceive the whole world with (the peace accords) Minsk”. The aim of those agreements was to settle the conflict with separatists in eastern Ukraine but Russia used them to prepare a new attack on its neighbor, Zelensky said. “It is clear that Russia is again trying to use the old tactic of deception. But Russia will not succeed in deceiving the world. We will not give her a second chance,” he added.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, for his part, called on Ukraine and Russia to proceed with a “de-escalation”, while Russian President Vladimir Putin said from St Petersburg that the Ukrainian counter-attack had “no chance” of success.

Zelensky said he wants to hold a Ukraine-Africa summit and strengthen his country’s ties with the African continent. At the same time, he questioned the usefulness of the African delegation’s visit to Moscow for talks with Putin. “It’s their decision, whether it makes sense, I don’t understand,” he told reporters, referring to the Russian missile attack that took place in Kiev during the African leaders’ visit.

Ramaphosa said African leaders “are here to share the African view” on peace in Ukraine. He added that it is important to hear what both Russia and Ukraine have to say, while commenting that international investigations into the alleged war crimes in the city of Bucha should also continue. As he said, in the discussions he will have with Putin tomorrow, he will raise the issue of respecting the United Nations Charter. He will also discuss issues related to the BRICS summit, which he chairs.

The African delegation arrived in Kyiv in the morning and a little while later in the Ukrainian capital the anti-aircraft sirens sounded and explosions were heard. At least seven people were injured in the Russian missile attack, according to Ukrainian police.

“Today, while we were here, we heard talk of missile strikes and that kind of hostilities are not a good thing for peace,” Ramaphosa said.

The African delegation consists of four presidents, of South Africa (Cyril Ramaphosa), Senegal (Maki Sall), Zambia (Hakaide Hichilema) and the Comoros Islands (Azali Assoumani, also holds the presidency of the African Union), as well as representatives of DR Congo, Uganda and Egypt.