- Seventeen African countries abstained from voting against Russia at the UN General Assembly.
- Zimbabwe says the vote is not in the best interest of solving the crisis.
- A report says 18% of arms exported from Russia were destined for Africa between 2016-2020 as Russia makes a return to Africa as a trade and diplomatic partner.
The UN’s General Assembly voted to reprimand Russia and diplomatically cut ties with the East European country on Wednesday.
But Zimbabwe, along with South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Congo Brazzaville, Burundi, Senegal, South Sudan, Uganda, Mali, Sudan, Guinea, Gambia, Algeria, and Madagascar are the African countries that abstained from the vote.
In a statement, Zimbabwe’s foreign service said it didn’t support sanctions proposed against Russia because, as a matter of principle, Harare was against sanctions on anyone.
“As you know, Zimbabwe does not support the imposition of unilateral coercive measures or unilateral sanctions of any kind on any member state for that matter,” Harare said.
Analysts see this as Zimbabwe returning the favour, although with a middle-of-the-road approach, on Russia after the superpower alongside China vetoed a UN security council resolution seeking sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2008.
About the vote, Harare said:
The country added that the situation in Ukraine was historical and geopolitical in nature.
“The situation in Ukraine is a very complex one and is deeply rooted in the history and geopolitics of that region,” said the Zimbabwe government statement.
Russia played a huge part in the liberation movements spreading across the continent through logistical, arms, and training support of liberation forces at the height of the Cold War in the 1960s to 1970s.
In 2019, Russia held its first Russia-Africa Summit attended by 43 African leaders. Trade and diplomatic relations had increased between Russia and Africa in the areas of energy and mining mostly.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Africa accounted for 18% of all Russian arms exports between 2016 and 2020, with Algeria, which also abstained, being the largest recipient.