SA has called on Russia to “immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine” after an invasion on Thursday morning.
The tensions between the two eastern European states had been steadily escalating since late last year and this boiled over when Russian forces entered Ukraine.
The department of international relations and co-operation (Dirco) said on Thursday afternoon it wanted Russia to withdraw in line with the UN Charter, “which enjoins all member states to settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice are not endangered”.
Dirco said it would monitor the situation and offer support to South Africans in the Ukraine.
“The Republic of South Africa is dismayed at the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine. We regret that the situation has deteriorated despite calls for diplomacy to prevail. Armed conflict will no doubt result in human suffering and destruction, the effects of which will not only affect Ukraine but also reverberate across the world. No country is immune to the effects of this conflict,” Dirco said.
"South Africa calls on Russia to immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine in line with the United Nations Charter, which enjoins all member states to settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice are not endangered."
The statement said SA “emphasises respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states”.
“As a nation birthed through negotiation, SA is always appreciative of the potential dialogue has in averting a crisis and de-escalating conflict. In line with our strong commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflict, SA urges all parties to devote increased efforts to diplomacy and to find a solution that will help avert further escalation. The door of diplomacy should never be closed even as conflict has broken out,” the statement read.
Dirco said the country was also calling on the UN Security Council to “play its role in the search for peace”.