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Putin, Zuma discuss Ukraine crisis
April 3, 2014, 4:59 am

Putin and Zuma also discussed bilateral ties between the two BRICS members [PPIO]

Putin and Zuma also discussed bilateral ties between the two BRICS members [PPIO]

Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma on Wednesday on the Ukraine issue. In a phone call initiated by Zuma, Putin said Moscow appreciates the ‘balanced line” toed by Pretoria regarding Crimea.

“The President noted the balanced line South Africa has taken on various aspects of the situation in Ukraine and the results of the referendum in Crimea,” said a Kremlin statement.

Putin and Zuma also discussed bilateral ties between the two BRICS members.

In solidarity with Moscow, South Africa, along with India and China had abstained from the UN vote deeming the Russian annexation of Crimea “illegal”.

“South Africa is of the view that the escalation of hostile language, the imposition of sanctions and counter-sanctions, the use of threat of force and violent actions do not contribute to the peaceful resolution of the situation and the economic stability of Ukraine and the region,” warned the South African Foreign Ministry in a statement last week.

The South African President has accepted Putin’s invitation to visit Russia this year. The two are also scheduled to meet during the upcoming 6th BRICS Summit in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza in July.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, NATO foreign ministers, who met in Brussels, announced that the alliance would suspend all practical cooperation with Russia and boost ties with Ukraine instead.

In reaction, Russia said it will take all political and military measures to guarantee its security amid NATO’s recent unfriendly moves, Moscow’s envoy to the alliance said on Wednesday.

“Naturally, we will take all the necessary political and military measures to guarantee our security,” Alexander Grushko said.

The five BRICS countries have slammed recent reports ahead of the G20 meet to isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin or to place any restrictions on his participation at the G-20 summit in Australia later this year.

“The Ministers noted with concern, the recent media statement on the forthcoming G20 Summit to be held in Brisbane in November 2014.  The custodianship of the G20 belongs to all Member States equally and no one Member State can unilaterally determine its nature and character,” said a joint BRICS statement on Monday. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had said earlier that Putin could be barred from attending the G20 Summit in November.