Lavrov in shock Kenya visit days after Ukraine FM trip to Africa

The visit comes at a time when global powers are jostling for influence on the continent of 1.3 billion people.

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

“During our visit, we will discuss our cooperation in trade, investment and economic fields, humanitarian and cultural questions, education, cooperation in the United Nations and many other issues,” Lavrov told Kenyan lawmakers, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The visit was not announced in advance.

Russian official has visited Africa several times in the past year as global powers struggle for influence On a continent of 1.3 billion people.

Lavrov’s visit to Kenya comes shortly after his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba visited the continent last week.

Foreign Minister Kuleba visited Ethiopia, Morocco and Rwanda, but also met Azali Assoumani, the current African Union (AU) Chair and President of Comoros, as well as Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairman of the AU Commission.

The Ukrainian official called on some African countries to end their neutral stance on the 15-month-old war in Ukraine and announced a push by Kiev to sharpen its ties with the continent.

“We talk to our African friends, trying to convince them that neutrality is not the answer,” Kuleba told a news conference on Wednesday in Addis Ababa, home of the African Union.

He also announced in a statement the next day that Ukraine planned to open more embassies in Africa and hold a summit with the continent’s leaders.

Meanwhile, the Russia-Africa summit, the second in the series, is to be held in St Petersburg from July 26 to 29.

Russia has ties with African countries that can be traced back to the Cold War, when the Soviet Union provided support in the form of arms and funding to liberation movements on the continent.

In February, 22 of the AU’s 54 member states abstained from voting on a UN General Assembly resolution calling on Russia to withdraw from Ukraine.

Two of them – Eritrea and Mali – also voted against the resolution.


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