The Kyiv Independent news desk

June 17, 2023

The African leaders’ delegation that came to Kyiv on June 16 to present a peace plan was mostly interested in suspending Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s arrest warrant, Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukraine’s Presidential Office, said.

“There is one point that worries them and for which, I think, they came,” he said on June 17.

“Trust comes in small steps. And let’s make one of the points the termination of the ICC warrant issued for Putin’s arrest, and this will symbolize such trust, and then we will move on to the next points,” he recalled them saying.

On March 17, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian official allegedly overseeing the forced deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia, meaning that Putin and Lvova-Belova can now be arrested in countries that have ratified the Rome Statute.

Podolyak also said the only real plan to end the war was Ukraine’s 10-point peace plan, which Zelensky introduced at a G20 summit meeting in November 2022.

The peace plan includes the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory, the establishment of a Russian war crimes tribunal, the release of all prisoners and forcibly relocated people, and the prevention of ecocide.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa presented another ten-point peace plan of the African Peace Mission during his visit to Kyiv, Ukrinform wrote on June 16.

As the main points, Ramaphosa emphasized that the Russo-Ukrainian War must be settled, and peace has to be achieved through diplomatic means as soon as possible.

Ukraine’s President Zelensky later responded, however, that talks with Moscow are possible only after a full withdrawal of Russian troops.

The third step, which the South African president listed at a joint press conference with Zelensky, was the de-escalation of hostilities.

As the fourth step, the sovereignty of states and peoples must be respected in accordance with the UN Charter.

The fifth component included security guarantees, the sixth was ensuring the export of grain and fertilizers, and the seventh was humanitarian assistance to the war’s victims.

The eighth step was the exchange of prisoners and captives, including children.

The ninth named component was post-war reconstruction and the final tenth step was for Zelensky to better and further interact with the African countries.

The African peace delegation arrived in Kyiv on June 16. During the group’s visit to Bucha, Russian forces launched 12 missiles against the capital and Kyiv Oblast, injuring four people.

A group of African countries that now includes South Africa, Senegal, Egypt, the Republic of Congo, Uganda, Zambia, and Comoros announced the plan to visit Kyiv and Moscow for peace talks on May 22.

The leaders indicated they wished to “initiate a peace process” but agreed on increasing Ukrainian grain exports and easing shipments of Russian fertilizers.

Ramaphosa and other African leaders arrived in Kyiv on June 16, under the African Peace Mission, before visiting Moscow to meet Putin on June 17.

While the group was visiting the mass grave of civilians killed in Bucha, Russian forces launched an air strike against the capital and Kyiv Oblast. All six Kinzhal and six Kalibr missiles were shot down but the debris injured at least four people.

According to Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, Russia was sending a message that it wants “more war, not peace.”

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson tweeted that the delegation “didn’t hear the sirens or explosions” and that the “program is proceeding as planned.”

At the press conference, Zelensky said that the attack showed Russia’s “disdain for peace efforts and for all world leaders who are trying to protect the world from aggression.”