It’s been nearly a year since the Ukraine war ensued and the end of this war is nowhere in sight. The war has adversely impacted energy and food markets. Energy prices have soared in the EU and also elsewhere, and Russia’s decision to suspend gas deliveries to several EU member states has worsened the situation further. Ensuring the security of gas supply in the EU has become a major concern for its leaders as the continent is now in a rush to reduce dependence on Russia. Moreover, the rivalry between Russia & the West is only likely to worsen with Russia’s stern warning against supplying powerful weapons to Ukraine by its supporters. After all the failed attempts, EU has pinned all its hope on an African country to help end the war on European soil.
EU pins hopes on South Africa
In his recent visit to South Africa, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell urged Pretoria to use its ties with Russia to convince Moscow to stop its war on Ukraine. Borrell’s trip to South Africa is the latest in a whirlwind week that has seen visits by both Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
Borrell said at a press conference that “I very much hope that South Africa, our strategic partner, will use its good relations with Russia and the role it plays in the BRICS group to convince Russia to stop this senseless war,”.
Both the West and Russia have increased their diplomatic activities in Africa as both sides want to win support from African countries on the war in Ukraine.
South Africa’s neutrality on the Ukraine war
Ever since the Ukraine war began, South Africa has maintained a neutral stance and refused to condemn Moscow’s invasion. Additionally, South Africa was among the 17 African countries that abstained from taking sides in the Russia-Ukraine war.
However, the West has not been impressed with South Africa’s stance on the war and is desperately trying to make it pick a side. Especially after the US-Africa summit, the Biden administration has launched an aggressive campaign to woo African countries. Recently, US Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen was on a visit to three African countries of Senegal, Zambia, and South Africa. All these three countries have not been supportive of the West’s Ukraine cause.
At the same time, South Africa also announced its plans to hold military drills with Russia. The announcement has alarmed the US and it has also criticised South Africa for its decision. Though, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor has defended the drill by saying that it was a “natural course of relations” to hold military drills with partners.
Looking at the raging conflict and destruction it has caused on both sides, the realization of the EU leader that only a “neutral” country can positively contribute to stopping the war has occurred very late. Ever since the war began, the West has been trying to get more and more countries to condemn Russia at the UN. However, condemnation at the UN has not been able to stop the raging conflict. Therefore, it seems after all its bullying tactics to force countries to choose sides failed, the west pins hope on neutral countries like South Africa to leverage its good relations with Russia to stop the war.