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The African continent is becoming a priority in Ukrainian foreign policy. Ukraine is one of the guarantors of food security in this region of dynamic development, and our diplomatic efforts are already demonstrating results in changing the paradigm of African politics. The position of African countries during the voting in the UN General Assembly eloquently confirms this. However, Africa remains a hotbed of geopolitical confrontation.
Russian imperialists want to impose their will on the countries of Africa and take advantage of them in their interests. The Russia-Africa Summit, scheduled for July 27−28, should be seen as a preparation for the geopolitical gripe into which the Russians want to drive the peoples of Africa.
In fact, this forum aims to form the impression of a breakthrough in the international isolation of Russia, creating the illusion of support for the Kremlin by the so-called “world majority,” an important part of which is the African population of the planet. And while this participation in someone else’s performance is still relatively voluntary, African leaders should think about the role assigned to them.
In reality, it is not the solidarity with Russian follies that is in the interests of most people and countries of the world, but the preservation of the effectiveness of international law and security architecture based on UN documents and institutions.
Clear principles and rules protect primarily those who cannot or do not plan to defend themselves with nuclear weapons and their murderous equivalents. Conversely, for the aggressor, which is today’s Russia, international law stands in the way. Therefore, Moscow seeks not only to destroy Ukraine, but also to discredit the rules that prohibit it from doing so.
The Kremlin’s global goal is to destroy the international order and, instead of the force of law, to impose the rule of force in relations between countries. This is something that threatens African countries no less than Ukraine.
Russia’s struggle against the current international security architecture threatens not only the return to times of the war of all against all, but also the disruption of sustainable development programmes, climate change control, and systemic international support for vulnerable societies in the fight against hunger and poverty.
Russia withdrew from the grain deal, and this threatens to increase prices for agricultural products and the emergence of an acute shortage of food available to African countries. Due to the Russian counteraction, in particular, the shelling of the port infrastructure and granaries of Ukraine, the charitable initiative of the President of Ukraine Grain from Ukraine, funded by the United Nations, is also at risk of disruption.
Russia invariably covers its struggle against the West (and in fact against the principles of civilized coexistence in the world) with anti-colonial rhetoric inherited from the Soviet Union.
Probably, Moscow hopes for widespread blindness in African countries, which Russia has chosen as its “wards.” After all, in the modern world, it is impossible to conceal the glaring facts of the Kremlin’s enslavement of dozens of indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation — depriving them of their languages, rights, and prospects.
Meanwhile, Russia’s colonial appetites are not at all limited to its own (the world’s largest) territory, as well as neighbouring Ukraine. The Russian tsars were late to the redistribution of the African continent by European colonizers in the 19th century. Now, Putin’s regime seeks to make up for what was lost and seize the natural resources of Africa.
Russia uses mercenaries of Wagner PMC to interfere in the internal affairs of the continent’s states, implementing operations to overthrow legitimate governments (Mali, Burkina Faso). Instead of guarding, Russian “helpers” provoke political instability and only exacerbate old problems in African countries. The activities of Russian mercenaries fuel the flames of separatism and religious extremism.
What political model can Russia export to Africa, if it is a corrupt, aggressive dictatorship that keeps its population in submission through repression and zombifying propaganda? Moscow can offer nothing but corruption, lies, terror, and wars to Africa.
The Kremlin considers the countries of “Black Africa” underdeveloped, naturally prone to atrocities and barbarism. Unlike the West, Russia will not, as they say, “impose democracy.” Instead, Russia came to corrupt its elites and teach them to keep their peoples in lawlessness.
By methods of blackmail and bribery, Moscow is trying to get the votes of African countries in the UN. These are votes against Ukraine and against international law. However, so far, Russian diplomacy has not won the coveted victories.
On the contrary, after two tours of African countries by Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and the launch of a new strategy for Ukraine’s interaction with Africa, Kyiv’s position in the General Assembly is becoming stronger. African countries repeatedly support resolutions aimed at restoring international law. These votes meet primarily the national interests of the African countries themselves.
Lavrov can participate in colourful African rituals as much as he wants, but that doesn’t change the fact that he represents a country with deep-rooted racism, xenophobia, and chauvinism. The true attitude of Russia towards African leaders was evidenced when it fired missiles at Kyiv during the stay of a peacekeeping delegation from African countries on June 23 this year.
Independent Ukraine is the result of a long anti-colonial struggle, whose milestones sometimes differed little from the events of African decolonization. Ukrainians understand perfectly the national feelings of the peoples of Africa, who do not tolerate arrogance and hypocrisy. We are natural allies in upholding the sovereignty and principles of international law that guarantee freedom and territorial integrity to all.
Indeed, the growth of Ukrainian interest in Africa is dictated primarily by the challenges of Russian aggression. But the mutual interest of African countries in Ukraine can bring them practical benefits. Ukraine is extremely effective in finding allies and support to repel aggression. This experience is invaluable and worthy of following by those who find themselves in a similar situation.
The common interest in ensuring food security has already been discussed. But there can be many more areas of mutually beneficial cooperation: education, technology, construction, energy, etc.
Nowadays, Ukraine is discovering Africa, but this is not the first time we are here. After all, many positive examples of cooperation with the USSR (the Putin regime parasitizes on the nostalgia for it) are in fact precisely the Ukrainian contribution and merit. It’s just that Ukraine itself did not get rid of Moscow’s colonial domination back then, and therefore its people, resources, and work for the benefit of international friendship were held under the guise of “Soviet” (and therefore “Russian”). It is time for Africa to rediscover Ukraine as well.