The guards of the President of South Africa, who were supposed to accompany him to Kyiv, were stuck at the airport in Warsaw, because they did not have permission to transport weapons.
African leaders were set to meet Putin in the northwestern Russian city of Saint Petersburg on Saturday.
On Thursday afternoon he visited the Polish capital to pay a courtesy call on President Andrzej Duda, who leads a country which shares borders with Ukraine and Russia.
President Ramaphosa will then proceeded to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv for deliberations on Friday (June 16) – as a member of the African Peace Mission – with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The mission is set to comprise the leaders of South Africa, Zambia, Senegal and the Comoros. Congo Brazzaville, Egypt’s leaders would sent representatives.
Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni who recently got sick with covid-19 is also set to miss the meeting in Kiev and Moscow.
Later tomorrow, Friday 16 June, President Ramaphosa will leave Kyiv en route to St Petersburg, Russia, where the African delegation will engage with President Putin on Saturday, 17 June.
South Africa diplomatic team had gone to Kyiv on Friday to voice the concerns of a continent that has suffered from the fallout of Russia’s invasion — in particular rising grain prices — with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa insisting “there should be peace through negotiations”.
The South African crew has been in Warsaw for the second day in a row due to alleged weapons transportation, while the South African leader already arrived in Ukraine.
The Polish Foreign Ministry on Friday said the plane carrying the security personnel and press crew of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was detained due to the presence of “dangerous materials” and “undeclared persons” on board.
“Dangerous materials for which the South African representatives did not have permission to import were on board the aircraft.’’
It is noted that the situation caused a scandal and accusations of deliberate disruption of the peace initiative and “racist discrimination” on the part of Poland. In particular, the head of the South African presidential security service accused Poland of attempting to sabotage the security of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“Members of the delegation had weapons, for which they did not have permission, but they could leave the plane,” Polish media noted with reference to the Polish Foreign Ministry, adding that we are talking about 120 commandos and 12 containers of weapons and equipment.
According to the Polish Foreign Ministry, the South African delegation carried weapons without permission, and there were people on board the plane, about whom the Polish side was not previously notified.
As a result, Ramaphosa was forced to go to Kyiv without guards and South African journalists, who also remained in Poland.
South Africa, for one, has drawn scrutiny for refusing to condemn the offensive launched by Moscow.
Although, African nations have been divided over their response to the war, with some siding with Ukraine and others remaining neutral or gravitating towards Moscow.
Zelensky said African countries should freeze relations with Russia until the Russian Armed Forces leave “Ukrainian territory.
President Ramaphosa is scheduled to return to South Africa on Sunday, 18 June.