Russia's Lavrov praises African countries for spurning West over Ukraine
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is on a tour of African capitals, making the case that Moscow is not the aggressor in Ukraine nor the cause of the resulting food crisis, which has hit the continent hard.
Driving the news: Lavrov was in Congo-Brazzaville Monday and will visit Uganda Tuesday and Ethiopia on Wednesday, where he'll also hold meetings at African Union headquarters.
- His first stop on Sunday in Cairo came just after Russia launched missile strikes on Ukraine's largest port, Odessa, a day after signing a deal to allow the port to re-open to grain exports.
- Moscow said it struck only "military infrastructure." Lavrov, meanwhile, attempted to blame Western sanctions and Ukrainian mines for the shortages that have sent grain prices soaring.
- In an apparent expansion of Moscow's war aims, he also promised to help the Ukrainian people "liberate themselves" from their “unacceptable regime."
Ahead this week's visit, Lavrov penned a column praising African countries for rejecting sanctions on Russia and resisting Western efforts to "impose a unipolar world order."
- Lavrov also harkened back to Soviet-era support for decolonization struggles in Africa. Today, Russia is the continent's top supplier of arms and has good relations with many African countries, including some regimes with which the U.S. is reluctant to deal.
Zoom in: Uganda was one of 25 African countries to abstain on the UN resolution condemning Russia in the wake of the invasion, and longtime President Yoweri Museveni said recently that it was best to keep government's views "private."
- Yes, but: Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, Museveni's son and likely political heir, tweeted that Vladimir Putin was "absolutely right" to invade.
- The latest: Uganda's state broadcaster has announced it will now run news bulletins from RT twice a day, per Reuters.
Worth noting: French President Emmanuel Macron will be in West Africa this week, while U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Mike Hammer will also visit Egypt and Ethiopia.