African leaders can discuss Ukraine peace with Putin at St. Petersburg summit – Kremlin

The members of the mediation mission will have an opportunity to meet with the Russian leader later this month, his spokesman said

African leaders seeking to broker a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine will be able to meet with the President Vladimir Putin at the upcoming event in St. Petersburg, the Kremlin said on Saturday. 

The Russia-Africa economic and humanitarian summit will take place on July 27-28. The first such gathering in Sochi in 2019 was attended by more than 40 heads of states, according to the organizers. 

“The summit program is still in the works. However, there will definitely be an opportunity to have a discussion on the sidelines [of the event],” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Russian news agency TASS earlier cited diplomatic sources as saying that members of the African peace mission, including South Africa, Egypt, Zambia, Senegal, Uganda, the Comoros, and the Republic of Congo, were seeking a meeting with Putin in St. Petersburg.

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African leaders visited Ukraine and Russia last month, where they presented a 10-point roadmap to end the hostilities between the two countries, calling on both sides to de-escalate. 

While Putin welcomed the mediation efforts, he blamed Kiev for the breakdown of peace negotiations in the spring of 2022, saying that Ukraine has “thrown out” preliminary agreement reached in Türkiye that year.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, meanwhile, voiced skepticism about the prospects of the African leaders’ trip to Russia in June. He reiterated that Ukraine will be ready for negotiations only after Moscow surrenders Crimea and four other regions that had voted to leave Ukraine and become parts of Russia. Officials in Moscow said that such demands are unacceptable.

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