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African Leaders Arrive in Russia for Summit as Kremlin Seeks Allies Amid Fighting in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed shake hands during their meeting on the eve of the Russia Africa Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, July 26, 2023. (TASS News Agency Host Pool Photo via AP, File)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed shake hands during their meeting on the eve of the Russia Africa Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, July 26, 2023. (TASS News Agency Host Pool Photo via AP, File)

Some African leaders arrived in Russia for a summit with President Vladimir Putin as he seeks allies amid the fighting in Ukraine, while the Kremlin accused Western powers of “outrageous” efforts to pressure other African heads of state not to attend.

Putin has billed the two-day summit that opens Thursday in St. Petersburg as a major event that would help bolster ties with a continent of 1.3 billion people that is increasingly assertive on the global stage.

“Today, Africa is asserting itself more and more confidently as one of the poles of the emerging multipolar world,” Putin said in a statement released by the Kremlin. “The forum will provide a further boost to our political and humanitarian partnership for many years to come.”

On Wednesday, Putin held one-on-one talks with Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and said Russia will more than triple the number of Ethiopian students it hosts and cover their education costs.

Related Story: Russia, China to Hold Naval Drills Off South Africa

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