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Ukraine FM: Africa in 'Same Boat' as Kyiv

FILE: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba attending a United Nations Security Council meeting, at the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City, U.S., September 22, 2022. REUTERS/Amr Alfiky/File Photo

Africa and Ukraine are in "the same boat," Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Thursday, accusing Moscow of triggering a global crisis that has left the continent reeling from food shortages.

Speaking in a virtual press briefing after fresh strikes against Ukraine forced him to cut short his tour of the continent, Kuleba said the war on Ukraine was also harming Africans.

"Each Russian rocket is not only hitting Ukrainians, it also harms the quality of life for Africans," Kuleba said.

He fired back at accusations by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said last month that "almost all" the Ukrainian grain shipped under a U.N.-backed deal to ease the global food crisis was being sent to rich European nations instead of drought-stricken countries in Africa.

"Since July, 830,000 tonnes of grains have been delivered to African states," he said.

Ukraine's top diplomat began a tour of the continent last week, visiting Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Kenya, before a round of punishing strikes on Kyiv and other cities forced him to head back home on Monday.

The four nations were among 143 countries at the United Nations General Assembly to vote in favor of a resolution on Wednesday condemning Russia's annexations of parts of Ukraine.

"I was particularly pleased to see that all the four countries that I visited in Africa... supported this resolution," Kuleba said.

He also welcomed Eritrea's decision to abstain from voting, seven months after the country — one of the world's most closed nations — voted against the March resolution condemning Russia's initial invasion of Ukraine.

"It is a move in the right direction," Kuleba said, also noting the abstention of the Central African Republic, where Russia-linked mercenaries from the Wagner group have been accused of rights abuses.

He added that Ukraine stood ready to welcome Senegalese President Macky Sall, who is also the chairman of the African Union, but said no date had been set for the visit.