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Ramaphosa says South Africa has been asked to mediate Russia-Ukraine

Reuters | On Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa stated that South Africa had been asked to arbitrate in the Russia-Ukraine crisis and that he had told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a phone call that the conflict should be resolved through discussions.

Ramaphosa did not identify who made the request or provide any other information about how he planned to cooperate with the two parties.

"South Africa has been contacted to play a mediation role based on our links with the Russian Federation and as a member of BRICS," Ramaphosa said, referring to the rising market grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. find out more

South Africa's participation was not immediately confirmed by Moscow or Kyiv.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians remain trapped in Ukrainian cities as a result of Russian air raids and shelling, despite talks between Ukraine's and Russia's foreign ministers on Thursday failing to bring any relief to the war. find out more

The ruling African National Congress in South Africa has deep historical ties to the former Soviet Union, which gave anti-apartheid activists training and support during the Cold War.

Since its relatively peaceful transition to democracy in 1994, South Africa has tended to punch above its weight diplomatically.

Ramaphosa said he spoke with Putin over the phone in a statement on his LinkedIn page.

"I presented our position on the problem... and our opinion that the conflict should be handled by mediation and dialogue between the parties, and if necessary, with the assistance of agencies that can assist," Ramaphosa said.

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