The African union has said there was need for a "peaceful solution to the conflict with Russia". This comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a fresh request to address African Union (AU) heads of state, according to AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki.
In a tweet, Mr Faki said he received the request during a call with Ukraine's foreign minister. The pair also talked about President Zelensky's "wish to develop closer ties with the AU".
Mr Faki didn't disclose whether the request will be granted but tweeted that he had "insisted on the need for a peaceful solution to the conflict with Russia" thus bringing to question the AU's position in the conflict.
Dalvarice Ngoudjou, a Cameroonian expert in international relations believes there are various aspects to it.
"The first variable is that the Ukrainian president Zaleski realized that a good part of the African states feel much closer to Russia than to Ukraine. And this is an element that is very important in international forums, especially the United Nations, where there is a strong desire on the part of Ukraine and certain Western countries to isolate Russia, and an important element on which this person should lean is the African continent. I think this is one of the reasons why President Zaleski is doing everything he can to be able to speak before the African Union"
Ukraine's Presdient Volodymyr Zelensky has spoken with major western governments and parliaments. He however has not spoken with countries in Africa. The war in his country has now gone past two months.
Ngoudjou shares some more insight:
"For me there is no problem to listen, to listen to a protagonist in a state of crisis, in a state of war. We can listen to the different protagonists. But still, if we look at the timing of the contacts between the authorities of the African Union and the protagonists of the crisis, we realize that the president of the African Union, the Senegalese president Macky Sall, has taken his phone and it is he who takes the initiative. He called Vladimir Putin to discuss the crisis with him and did not call President Zelenski. But it is almost a month later, when President Zelesnki realizes that the trend on the African continent is much closer to Russia that he takes his phone, calls macky sall and expresses the will to speak before the African Union"
It is not yet known whether President Zelensky's request will be granted by the AU but if it does, there are questions on him being able to rally the support of neutral countries on the continent to his cause.
"If we had to rely only on the word of Zelensky, it would be extremely difficult, but given that there are a number of Western powers that exert pressure on states, there is a chance that he may be able to gather a certain amount of support".
With some African nations extending ties to Russia lately, analysts fear having a collective support of the AU may be unattenable for Ukraine.