Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa openly declared his support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking on the sidelines of the two-day Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum in St Petersburg, Mnangagwa became the second African leader to openly side with Russia.
“Zimbabwe is in solidarity with the Russian Federation in your country’s special military operation in Ukraine,” he said.
While most African countries took a middle-of-the road approach, mostly by abstaining from United Nations resolutions on the matter, only Eritrea voted in support of the invasion.
For political analyst Alexander Rusero, the statement was not clearly thought out.
“The implications are a contradiction to his effort on re-engagement and appeasement of the West. They are also not thought out against the realities of a state that wants to be taken seriously on sanctions claims.
“Russia is a strong patron but nowhere near as in a position to bail out a country undergoing a veritable economic meltdown as Zimbabwe,” he said.
Mnangagwa arrived in Russia upbeat that he would sign numerous trade deals with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
He was also gifted a presidential helicopter.
During his acceptance speech in front of the helicopter, Mnangagwa said: “The victims of sanctions must cooperate.”
Putin announced that Zimbabwe was one of the first African countries to receive grain from Russia, free of charge.
He said 50 000 tons was on its way to Harare.
Since the turn of the century, due to human rights violations, and disregard for the rule of law and property rights, the Robert Mugabe regime was placed under economic and trade sanctions.
Most of the sanctions remain in place, but Mnangagwa has on numerous occasions vowed to re-engage with the international community, despite failing to honour set targets.