Putin Congratulates Ramaphosa on Re-Election Amid Strengthening Russia-South Africa Ties

Moscow, Russia – June 17, 2024: Russian President Vladimir Putin extended his congratulations to South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa on his re-election as president, signaling sustained robust relations between Moscow and Pretoria despite the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The congratulatory message was conveyed through a telephone call from Putin to Ramaphosa, as noted in a statement on the Kremlin’s official website.

Putin expressed hopes for continued collaborative efforts to strengthen the partnership between Russia and South Africa across various domains. This reaffirmation of diplomatic ties comes in the context of the evolving political landscape in South Africa and the geopolitical shifts following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine over two years ago.

Ramaphosa, who was re-elected by the South African parliament last Friday, faces new political challenges as his African National Congress (ANC) party failed to secure a majority in the recent parliamentary elections. This historic outcome has led to the formation of a coalition government involving five different political parties, a first in 30 years for South Africa.

The relationship between Russia and South Africa has deep historical roots dating back to the Soviet Union’s support for liberation movements, including the ANC’s struggle against apartheid. Although South Africa initially condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, its stance has since become more nuanced. South Africa abstained from multiple United Nations General Assembly votes that condemned Russian actions in Ukraine, reflecting its complex diplomatic position.

The South African government’s balancing act was further highlighted by its attendance at a recent peace summit on Ukraine hosted in Switzerland. However, South Africa, along with India, Indonesia, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia, chose not to endorse the summit’s final communique, which aimed to garner broad international support by omitting controversial issues.

The political and diplomatic tensions were also evident as South Africa faced a challenging decision regarding the 2023 BRICS summit. The country, as host, grappled with the potential invitation of President Putin despite an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes related to the deportation of Ukrainian children. This situation underscores South Africa’s diplomatic tightrope between its historical ties with Russia and its obligations under international law.

As both countries navigate these complex geopolitical landscapes, the call from President Putin to President Ramaphosa underscores a desire to continue fostering strong bilateral relations amidst the shifting dynamics of global politics.

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