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Steenhuisen calls on Ramaphosa to speak out against Russia’s aggression

DA leader John Steenhuisen says Russia’s 'aggression' must be condemned by all freedom-loving people around the globe. File photo.
DA leader John Steenhuisen says Russia’s 'aggression' must be condemned by all freedom-loving people around the globe. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

DA leader John Steenhuisen has called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to speak out against Russia’s aggression after that country’s invasion of Ukraine this week.

Tensions that have been brewing for years boiled over this week when Russian President Vladimir Putin formally recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine and ordered a “special military operation” to “protect” the Donbas region in the east of the country.

Putin said there was a need to “demilitarise” the country, while Ukraine labelled it an “act of war” and President Volodymyr Zelensky called on those capable of bearing arms to defend the nation.

Attacks from Russia on several Ukranian cities by air, land and sea followed as the West scrambled to impose harsher sanctions on Putin and his country.

Reacting to the unfolding events in Eastern Europe, Steenhuisen said Russia’s aggression must be condemned by all freedom-loving people.

“President Ramaphosa needs to speak out against this,” he said.

“An invasion of a democratic country, a violation of international law and a trampling of the sovereignty of a nation. Russia’s aggression must be condemned by all freedom-loving people around the globe and it must be stopped.”

Steenhuisen said it is not possible to be agnostic in a clear-cut case of conquest of a democratic people and nation.

“We are a member of BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China, and SA] and it should be used to condemn Russian aggression,” said Steenhuisen.

In a statement, the DA said the ANC government must use its BRICS membership to condemn Russia’s invasion of the Donbas region.

The party said international relations minister Naledi Pandor should summon the Russian ambassador to SA, Ilya Igorevich Rogachev, and demand Russia immediately stop its military campaign in Ukraine and withdraw its troops from the territory.

“Failure to stop Putin now will be detrimental to world peace,” said the DA.

“SA needs to play its part to ensure Putin is brought to the negotiating table. His violation of Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty is a direct infringement of international law and should not be allowed to stand.

“By allowing Putin to get away with murder, Pandor is making a mockery of her own government’s foreign policy doctrine of pursuing Ubuntu diplomacy and protection of human rights.”

Pandor encouraged dialogue with a “spirit of compromise” to resolve the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“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,” she said.

“The door of diplomacy should never be closed, even as conflict has broken out. In light of the escalating conflict, we call on all parties to resume diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the concerns raised by Russia.”

Pandor said both countries have much to lose from unnecessary and violent conflict.

She called on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to play a central role in the search for peace.

EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said Africa must not take sides.

“Africa must adopt a strict policy of non-alignment in light of the Nato-Russia War. We must take no sides. Condemn both sides. Call daily for peace and coexistence,” he said on social media.

“Ramaphosa’s love for Europe must be monitored lest he gets us involved, even if by mistake as [former president Jacob] Zuma did with Libya.”

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