US Calls for ‘Strong African Response’ to Russian Aggression

US diplomats have called for “a strong African response” to Russian aggression and plan to help mitigate the economic effects of the Russian invasion on the continent.

“We look for a strong African response to Russian aggression and welcome the opportunity to partner with Senegal and other Africans on both the response to Russia’s aggression but also to address the implications of it globally,” US ambassador to the African Union Jessica Lapenn said.

Lapenn said she welcomes the statement issued by the African Union on February 24, calling on Russia to “respect international law, the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Ukraine.”

Lapenn and US State Department’s African Affairs Bureau official Akunna Cook were in Senegal for consultation, and with President Macky Sall, who currently holds the African Union’s rotating presidency.

Cook said it was important to recognize “that Africa is very much affected by the Russian invasion, by Ukraine, both because of the economic impact which we are seeing here and across the continent in terms of rising commodities and fuel prices and also because of the threat to territorial integrity.”

Senegal, which has strong relations with the West, abstained in a March 2 United Nations General Assembly vote on demanding a Russian ceasefire in Ukraine.

But the West African state voted in favor of a second UN resolution on March 24, demanding that Russia stop the war immediately.

Nearly half of all African countries abstained or did not vote in both votes.

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