Ukraine Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba is on a visit to Equatorial Guinea in his third visit to Africa since the Russian invasion started in February last year.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement said the visit to Malabo comes against the backdrop of the worsening global food crisis after Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
“On July 23-24, the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine will start his tour with a visit to Equatorial Guinea. The visit will be the first in the history of diplomatic relations.
In Malabo, Dmytro Kuleba will hold talks with the country’s leadership on the development of bilateral relations, increasing the volume of trade, ensuring food security in Africa and supporting President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Peace Formula,” the statement said.
In January 2022 Ukraine approved the African strategy, through which the President of Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and parliamentary diplomacy significantly intensified contacts with African countries.
Kuleba’s first African tour took place in October 2022, where he visited Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Kenya, while his second was in May 2023, covering Morocco, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Mozambique and Nigeria.
“The development of relations with African countries strengthens the global coalition in support of Ukraine against the background of Russian aggression and creates new opportunities for Ukrainian businesses and citizens.
Dmytro Kuleba’s third African tour is a continuation of the African Strategy and the renaissance of Ukrainian-African relations,” the statement said.
His visit comes after that of Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Kenya, Burundi and South Africa in May.
Lavrov’s visit came soon after Kuleba’s second in Africa, as Moscow and Kyiv both seek to bolster support from African nations over the war in Ukraine.
During his May visit, Kuleba is urged African states to abandon their stances of neutrality towards the Russia-Ukraine War as some African countries have refused to take sides in the conflict, with several abstaining from votes at the UN General Assembly condemning Russia’s invasion.
Speaking in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Kuleba said Ukraine was “very upset that some African countries chose to abstain” and called them to lend Ukraine diplomatic support “in the face of Russian aggression.”
“Neutrality is not the answer. By being neutral towards Russian aggression against Ukraine, you project neutrality to the violations of borders and mass crimes that may occur very close to you,” Kuleba said.
He also called on African countries to endorse the “10-point peace formula” proposed by President Zelenskyy in December and emphasized Ukraine’s wish to build “mutually beneficial” relations with Africa.