Russia, Ukraine conflict ‘already comes at cost to SA’

Russia, Ukraine conflict 'already comes at cost to SA'

Wits University honourary international relations Professor John Stremlau says the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has already come at a cost to South Africa. 

LISTEN: Russia attacks Ukraine. Carol Ofori asks: How will this impact South Africa?

South Africa and Russia are both members of the BRICS bloc of nations, comprising of Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa.

Russia launched a “military operation”in Ukraine on Thursday morning.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also vowed retaliation against anyone who interfered and called on the Ukraine military to lay down its arms.

READ: WATCH: NATO condemns Russia's 'reckless and unprovoked' Ukraine attack

Stremlau believes the attack on Ukraine is against South Africa’s democratic values.

“South Africans have already incurred costs by Putin’s aggressiveness. The African Summit that was held last week was preoccupied with the Europeans talking about Ukraine and Russia, they should be talking about climate change, Covid-19 and vaccines, agriculture and trade and they were talking about Russia and Ukraine.

ALSO READ: Russia faces 'unprecedented isolation' over Ukraine attack: EU

“So, there are already opportunity losses. Then there are combinations of factors that should be of concern to South Africa. 

"The self-determination of the Ukrainian people who voted for independence, the territorial integrity issues and that Putin has changed the constitution of Russia and silenced all oppositions so that he can be in power until 2036 unless he is overthrown and that is contrary to the values that I think South Africa hold, South Africa is going to have to make up its own mind.”

But Stremlau believes it’s unlikely that South Africa will impose sanctions on Russia.

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“Russia is a petrol state and that’s unfortunate, but the US has got some sanctions that they can apply but I don’t think South Africa can apply sanctions, I don’t know but I hope they are exploring it.”


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