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Russia-Ukraine War: U.S Urges African Countries To Respond Strongly To Russia’s Aggression

Russia-Ukraine War: U.S Urges African Countries To Respond Strongly To Russia’s Aggression

Following the Russian-Ukraine war, which saw Russia’s forceful invasion of Ukraine, the United States has once again urged African nations to strongly respond to Russia’s aggression. They further disclosed that they are setting up plans on how to help reduce the economic effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on the continent, knowing full well that some countries in the region have been greatly affected.

According to U.S ambassador Jessica Lapenn, in her words, “We look forward to a strong African response to Russia’s aggression and welcome the opportunity to partner with Senegal and other Africans on both the response to Russia’s aggression but also to address the implications of it globally”. Recall that earlier in March, nearly half of all African countries abstained or did not vote at the UN General Assembly that demanded Russia Immediately stop its military operations in Ukraine.

This is the second time the U.S is calling on African countries to react aggressively to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The first time they called on African nations, was through its secretary of state Molly Phee who stated that their voices matter in the international community urging them to vote against Russia at the UN general assembly. Recently, due to the strong relations that Senegal has with the West, some officials from the U.S State Department on African affairs paid a visit to the country where they had a meeting with President Macky Mall who currently holds the African Union rotating presidency. Their visit was to discuss with him ways to ensure that the African continent responds to Russia’s aggression.

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I still do not understand why the U.S is hell-bent on ensuring that African nations condemn the action of Russia. Earlier in March, the same U.S was slammed by the Pakistan government through its president Imran Khan who had to counter U.S requests by asking them if they were their slaves. The US must understand that every sovereign country, most especially countries in Africa has the right to abstain or condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine, regardless of whether they are negatively affected by the conflict or not.

I believe any country that wants to condemn Russia’s action, will do so at their own will without necessarily being coerced. The decision of most African countries to stay neutral and abstain from condemning Russia can be traced to issues relating to political, economic, and other considerations. These countries have based their decisions on strategic calculations on the war to avoid making rash statements that will jeopardize their relationship with Russia.

It is a known fact that some countries in Africa, Nigeria inclusive, have significant military alliances with Russia. Some of these countries have depended on Russia to combat insurgencies in their country. In the past, Russian mercenaries have been active in Libya, Sudan, Mozambique, and Mali which has seen them restore peace in war-torn areas. Also, Africa is a key market for Russia’s arms industry, with almost half of all the arms coming into Africa being imported from Russia. 

With Russia being the highest exporter of wheat, most African countries heavily depend on them for wheat and fertilizers which have deepened their economic ties. Seeing all these benefits and many more not listed here that the African continent gets to benefit from Russia, one can reasonably deduce the reason why most countries in the African region chose to stay neutral or abstain.

If African countries decide to heed to U.S statement and go ahead to aggressively condemn Russia’s actions on Ukraine, will it reduce the effects of the war on the African region? I doubt so because such an act will only worsen matters and make Russia aggressive towards the region which will affect them in so many ways. The U.S should therefore respect these African countries’ obvious stance on the Russia-Ukraine war.

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