‘End Ukraine war’

African leaders press Putin; Moscow intercepted missile targeting Russian city; Qatari PM pledges USD 100 million to Ukraine

African leaders pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday to move ahead with their peace plan to end the Ukraine war and to renew a deal on the export of Ukrainian grain that Moscow tore up last week.

While not directly critical of Russia, their interventions on the second day of a summit with Putin were more concerted and forceful than those that African countries have voiced until now.

Meanwhile, Russia yesterday said it intercepted a Ukrainian missile, with debris falling on the southwestern Russian city of Taganrog, near the border with Ukraine, injuring more than a dozen people.

Qatar will provide Ukraine with USD 100 million in humanitarian aid to support health, education and demining, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said after talks with the Gulf state’s prime minister.

Qatar yesterday announced that Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, who also serves as foreign minister, was visiting Ukraine.

“This money will be channelled for reconstruction in the health and education sectors, humanitarian de-mining, and other important social and humanitarian projects,” Shmyhal told a joint briefing.

During the second day of Russia-Africa summit, African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat told Putin and African leaders in St Petersburg that “this war must end. And it can only end on the basis of justice and reason.”

“The disruptions of energy and grain supplies must end immediately. The grain deal must be extended for the benefit of all the peoples of the world, Africans in particular.”

Reuters reported in June that the African plan floats a series of possible steps to defuse the conflict including a Russian troop pull-back, removal of Russian tactical nuclear weapons from Belarus, suspension of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant against Putin, and sanctions relief.

Putin gave it a polite but cool reception when African leaders presented it to him last month. On Friday he said Moscow respected the proposal and was carefully studying it.

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