• World - Africa
  • Updated: May 29, 2023

Russia's Prime Minister Meets With Kenyan Leaders

Russia's Prime Minister Meets With Kenyan Leaders

Russia's Prime Minister Meets With President Ruto, Seeks To Bolster Ties With Kenya

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met Kenyan leaders on Monday on a surprise visit to Nairobi as Moscow and Kyiv both seek to bolster support from African nations over the war in Ukraine.

Lavrov's visit to the East African superpower follows that of his Ukrainian colleague, Dmytro Kuleba, who visited the continent last week.

"During our visit, we will discuss our cooperation in trade, investment, and economic spheres, humanitarian and cultural questions, education, UN cooperation, and many other issues," Lavrov told Kenyan MPs, according to the Russian foreign ministry.

The trip had not been mentioned in advance, and Kenyan officials had provided no details.

Lavrov has visited Africa many times in the last year, as global powers vie for influence on the 1.3 billion-person continent of Africa.

Kuleba this week urged African governments to abandon their neutral views in Ukraine's 15-month-long war and unveiled an effort by Kyiv to strengthen ties with the continent.

"We speak with our African friends, trying to explain to them that neutrality is not the answer," Kuleba said during a news conference in Addis Ababa, the African Union's headquarters, on Wednesday.

He also stated the next day in a statement that Ukraine intended to open more embassies in Africa and hold a meeting with the continent's leaders.

22 of the African Union's 54 member nations abstained or did not vote in February on a UN General Assembly resolution calling for Russia's withdrawal from Ukraine.

Eritrea and Mali were two of the African countries that voted against the resolution.

Russia has historical links with African countries dating back to the Cold War when the Soviet Union positioned itself as an anti-colonialist protector.

The second Russia-Africa summit will be place in Saint Petersburg from July 26 to 29.

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