African leaders tour kyiv after air raid alert

Ukraine -African leaders are in Ukraine on a peace mission where they are due to meet President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukraine’s foreign minister says an air raid at the start of their visit shows Russian President Vladimir Putin wants “more war”

“Putin ‘builds confidence’ by launching the largest missile attack on Kyiv in weeks, exactly amid the visit of African leaders to our capital. Russian missiles are a message to Africa: Russia wants more war, not peace,” he said

At least two explosions rocked the capital but mayor Vitali Klitschko said they were caused by air defences. He reported no deaths or big damage in the city but emergency services said four people, including a child, were hurt in the Kyiv region.

The peace delegation, including leaders from South Africa, Senegal, Zambia, the Comoros and Egypt, met defence ministry representatives ahead of talks planned later on Friday with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

The leaders are due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg on Saturday and, with Kyiv and Moscow courting the Global South, see a chance to mediate in a war that has hit African countries by disrupting grain and other food supplies.

The leaders are seeking agreement on a series of “confidence building measures”, but Kyiv has said its own peace initiative must be the basis of any settlement and has launched a counteroffensive to push back Russian occupying forces.

The Kremlin, which invaded Ukraine in February 2022, has played down the chances of meaningful peace talks with Kyiv. It says conditions for a peace process are not in place, but that it is ready to listen and is open to outside initiatives.

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