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Jacob Zuma: NATO Expansion Fuels Russia And Ukraine Conflict

Jacob Zuma

Former South African President Jacob Zuma expressed his belief that the expansion of the Western military alliance, NATO, has contributed to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.


Zuma shared his views while attending a South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) rally in KwaXimba, west of Durban. His comments followed President Cyril Ramaphosa‘s recent participation in an African leaders’ peace delegation to Ukraine and Russia, where he attempted to mediate between the two countries.

Zuma argued that Russia has been opposed to NATO interference in neighboring countries and emphasized the importance of independent thinking.

He stated, “I think Russia has been saying this is their neighbor; you can’t bring NATO into a neighboring country to interfere with Russia when you don’t even have a country in the Middle East or Africa to think independently. You go there, you attack, and you do everything.”

Zuma further claimed that the war is connected to the existence of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), but emphasized that the BRICS cannot be crushed. He stressed the need for peace and urged international efforts to broker a resolution.

Jacob Zuma
Former South African President Jacob Zuma, REUTERS/Rogan Ward

President Cyril Ramaphosa led a peace delegation comprising African leaders from Comoros, Senegal, Zambia, as well as Egypt’s prime minister, and envoys from the Republic of Congo and Uganda. The delegation visited both Ukraine and Russia, engaging with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and President Vladimir Putin. Despite their efforts, the conflict continues.

President Ramaphosa acknowledged the willingness of both Russian and Ukrainian leaders to listen to the concerns of African leaders regarding the impact of the ongoing war. While the peace mission may not immediately end the conflict, he expressed hope that their proposals would be taken into consideration. Ramaphosa stressed the importance of humanitarian assistance reaching those affected by the war, including the release of prisoners of war and the return of children who were taken out of Ukraine.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa PHOTO/COURTESY

The comments made by Zuma and the African leaders’ peace delegation follow reports of intense fighting on multiple frontlines in Ukraine. The African peace mission, which aimed to spark enthusiasm for peace talks, did not yield significant progress.

During talks in St Petersburg, President Ramaphosa presented President Putin with a 10-point peace initiative proposed by seven African countries. Ramaphosa urged Putin to initiate negotiations to end the war.

Read also: BRICS vs NATO: Clash of Economic Powerhouses or Impending Military Showdown?

In response, Putin denied several accusations made by Ukraine and the West and expressed interest in the peace plan, although he acknowledged its challenging implementation. President Zelenskyy, however, argued that initiating negotiations now would only freeze the war and prolong the suffering of the Ukrainian people.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine remains unresolved, with international efforts continuing in search of a peaceful resolution.

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