President Museveni has commended President Vladimir Putin for appreciating Africa’s efforts in trying to broker a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine.
President Museveni made the remarks after attending a working dinner with President Putin alongside members of the African Peace Initiative on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
The dinner was meant to follow up on the recommendations made to Russia in June 2023.
“Noteworthy, is the acknowledgement by H.E Putin that the African initiative presents a balanced approach to ending the conflict by peaceful means and that Russia is giving careful consideration to these proposals,” Museveni said.
During the plenary session of the second Russia–Africa Summit on Friday, Putin lauded the initiative by several African countries to resolve the Ukraine crisis.
“This is an urgent issue and we have never sought to avoid discussing it. The very existence of this initiative is quite telling since the so-called developed democracies used to hold a monopoly when it came to undertaking mediation missions of any kind,” he said.
He added: “But this is no longer the case, and now Africa is ready to help bring about solutions to problems which may seem to lie outside of its immediate sphere of interests.”
Telephone conversation with Zelensky
According to The Kremlin, Putin on Wednesday had a telephone conversation with President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky at the initiative of the Ukrainian side.
“There was a thorough discussion of various aspects of settling the intra-Ukrainian crisis and the need for boosting the efficiency of negotiating efforts as part of the Minsk Contact Group. The parties praised additional ceasefire measures that have been in effect from July 27 and that were approved at the Group’s meeting on July 22,” said The Kremlin.
The two presidents underscored the importance of unconditional compliance by all parties to the conflict with these agreements.
The Russian side underscored the need to prioritise the implementation of the decisions made by the Normandy format leaders, including those that followed the December 2019 summit in Paris.
Vladimir Putin pointed out that the Verkhovna Rada’s July 15 resolution on 2020 local elections contradicts the Minsk agreements and threatens settlement prospects.
He also expressed grave concern in view of recent remarks by Ukraine’s top officials on the unacceptability of some of the provisions in the Package of Measures and the need to reconsider them.
The President of Russia especially noted that the position Vladimir Zelensky reiterated during their telephone conversation, namely that there can be no alternatives to the Minsk agreements, must find its affirmation in practical actions taken by authorities in Kiev.
The Presidents also exchanged opinions on the situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Answer to a question from Channel One journalist
On the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Summit, Putin answered a question from a Channel One journalist on the situation in the special military operation zone.
Question: Mr President, can I ask you a question about the Ukrainian counteroffensive? Many experts in the West have been saying these past few days that the decisive stage in Ukraine’s counteroffensive is about to begin or is even underway already, while everything that happened before that was nothing and that now they are going to “show us” what is what.
Have you witnessed any attempts by Ukraine to step up military action and is this really the decisive stage? Overall, what is your assessment of the situation on the frontline? Can I also ask you to provide details on the casualties on both sides, both for Russia and Ukraine? Can you share the latest data, please?
Vladimir Putin: As we have already said, and as confirmed by the actual action along the line of contact, the so-called counteroffensive, this broad counteroffensive, started on June 4, 2023. This is an obvious fact, demonstrated, among other things, by the fact that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have engaged their so-called strategic reserves.
As for the past few days, we can confirm that combat action has entered its intensive phase, to a significant extent. The clashes are primarily concentrated in what they call in the West the direction of the main attack – the Zaporozhye sector. Yesterday, there was serious military action within the area of responsibility of the 810th brigade of the Black Sea’s Naval Infantry and the 71st Regiment from the 42nd division of the Southern Military District’s 58th Army.
I can tell you without any exaggeration that our soldiers and officers have demonstrated mass heroism on a vast scale. The enemy used armoured machinery in large numbers by sending 50 pieces of military hardware into battle. Of them, 39 units of equipment, including 26 tanks and 13 armoured personnel carriers, have been destroyed. The personnel of the units I mentioned earlier destroyed 60 percent of them, while our combat pilots destroyed the other 40 percent.
Today, at my instruction, our troops will be awarded state decorations directly in the area of hostilities. I have already instructed the Defence Ministry to draft proposals for bestowing honorary designations on these units. The enemy has not succeeded in any of the sectors of combat activity. All attempts at the counteroffensive have been stopped. The enemy has been forced to retreat with substantial losses.
Today, they tried to recover the damaged assets, as well as pick up the wounded and casualties after leaving them on the battlefield yesterday but were also dispersed. This is the current situation as of this moment.
Question: Can I ask you to share the losses?
Vladimir Putin: Of course, apart from the military hardware, the adversary sustained multiple casualties of over 200 people. Unfortunately, we lost people too, but the difference is overwhelming with many times fewer casualties on our side. In fact, our casualties amount to less than 10 percent of the enemy’s losses. Let me reiterate and emphasise that everything that happened over the past 24 hours demonstrates the mass heroism of our soldiers and officers at its best.