By Orowo Victoria Ojieh
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been blamed for provoking Russia into invading Ukraine. NATO expansion eastward triggered the war in the former Soviet republic, according to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
South Africa refrained from backing the United Nations General Assembly resolution that condemned Russia’s military action in Ukraine and chose to stay neutral alongside 34 other countries, including China, India and Pakistan.
In his words to South Africa’s Parliament (lawmakers) on Thursday, he remarked: “The war could have been avoided if NATO had heard the warnings from amongst its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater, not less, instability in the region.”
Ramaphosa said it’s important to understand the causes of the crisis, but that doesn’t mean agreeing with the Russian invasion on Ukraine February 24.
“We cannot condone the use of force or violation of international law,” said the President. The president’s latest comments came after he revealed last week that he had been asked to help mediate the negotiations between Moscow and Kiev, he said on Thursday that he has already spoken to Putin, who reveal that he’s eager to end the fighting, and hoped to talk soon with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“There are those who are insisting that we should take a very adversarial stance and position against Russia, the approach that we have chosen to take instead is that we are insisting that there should be dialogue. Screaming and shouting is not going to bring an end to this conflict.”
War, violence never really solves any problems,he added. “It is for this reason that we say that we would prefer and insist that there should be mediation, there should be dialogue and there should be negotiation.”
Ramaphosa said he did not want to take sides because it would hurt his country’s role as a possible mediator. By remaining neutral, South Africa can make its voice heard, not only publicly but also to the parties that are involved in the conflict, The Trumpet gathered.
Moscow has vehemently opposed NATO’s presence close to its borders, and embarked on a mission to obtain security guarantees that would halt the US-led military bloc’s expansion and bar Kiev from joining its ranks.
However, the West ignored Russia’s concerns. President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” on February 24, with a stated goal to “demilitarize and denazify” the government in Kiev, ensuring that it no longer poses a threat to either Russia or the newly recognized Donbass republics, which have suffered seven years of grueling siege.
The US and its NATO allies have accused Russia of starting an “unprovoked” war against Ukraine. South Africa was one of 35 countries that abstained from voting on the UN resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The United States and 140 other countries voted to adopt the resolution,