Why Africa must remain neutral in Russia-Ukraine war?

Soon it will be a year since the Ukraine- Russia conflict started. Unfortu­nately, it is far from the end, because of current position of western coun­tries, who only want to defeat Russia at any cost. What is more, it looks like Kiev officials have completely forgotten about diplomacy because they are used to rejecting all peaceful ways to solving the conflict. On the contrary, we can only watch Ukraine demand more and more weapons and military hardware, like tanks, rockets, fighters and so on.

Recent Zelensky’s visits to the U.S.A, U.K and other Western coun­tries showed the rest of the world, that he had only one task – get new offensive weapons to continue the fight. However, the Ukrainian Pres­

 ident, faced with lack of com­mitment from Europe and some other countries is desperately finding other means of getting armaments for Kiev to continue to fight.

Ukraine, with the seeming failure of diplomatic efforts to peacefully resolve the conflict coupled with the refusal of some countries to supply the arms to enable her to continue to the fight, is now looking for other ways to come out of the quag­mire she has push herself into.

Consequently, officials from Kiev are now planning to get the opportunity to participate in the upcoming session of the Afri­can Union, which is to be held in Addis Ababa from 18 to 19 February, 2023.

It against this backdrop that African leaders need to ask them­selves hard questions about the benefit that participating of rep­resentatives from Ukraine would bring to the continent.

One can clearly anticipate the motive of Ukraine participating in the summit which is to ask for a military support and asking African countries to break off diplomatic and economic relations with Russia. However, both of these propositions can get the sup­port of African countries.

At this moment,Kiev does not have any economic power or opportunities to engage in con­structive and fruitful dialogue with the continent and in all honesty the only thing Ukraine can sell is grain which is in smaller quantities unlike before.

At the same time overt mili­tary help can lead to worsening relations with some countries, especially Russia, which has strong economic ties with many African

 Moreover, sending military hardware to Ukraine can also cause significant damage to the security situation in the African region, because it will weaken defense capability of African countries against terrorist groups like Islamic State and al-Qaeda. And one should also not forget that neither European Union, nor Ukraine itself could track all those weapons, so it can easily fall into the hands of extremists.

That is why African leaders should not fall for the Ukrainian demand and continue to pursue non- interference policy. Especially when African Union repeatedly declares its position that the con­flict between Russia and Ukraine should be solve only by diplomatic means.

Otherwise countries of the continent can be embroiled in a longstanding standoff, which certainly can lead to weakening of all states because they would be forced to reject the policy of multipolar and respect.

The writer is a political commentator

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