THE UNITED States reportedly wrote to President Emmerson Mnangagwa asking him to end Harare’s close ties with the Russian government, it has emerged.
Mnangagwa revealed the alleged Washington overture during a meeting in Harare Thursday with the visiting Russian Federation Council (senate) speaker Valentina Matvienko.
According the Russian news agency TASS, Mnangagwa told Matvienko that the US sent a letter urging him to end close economic and technical military relations with Moscow.
Matvienko stressed that the letter “firmly recommended Zimbabwe not to develop ties with Russia,” but the Zimbabwean leader “sent an adequate response” saying relations between Russia and Zimbabwe were long and mutually beneficial.
The Russian Senate speaker arrived in Harare from Mozambique where her delegation held meetings with local officials.
Western countries, led by the US, have since imposed a raft of sanctions against Russia after President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of neighbouring Ukraine in February this year.
However, the sanctions have not been supported by majority of African countries and most of the global South.
Meanwhile, the war and the consequent Western sanctions, have resulted in global economic turmoil as well as food supply challenges since both Russia and Ukraine are major world producers.
Speaking to reporters in Harare after her meeting with Mnangagwa, Matvienko said despite Western sanctions, Russia is ready to stick to its commitments to “supply food to other countries and do everything to avert hunger”.
If Zimbabwe asks Russia to supply food or fertilizers, she said, then Russia, “will devise delivery mechanisms and provide Zimbabwe with the necessary amount of food.”
“Today it’s obvious to everyone that the destructive policy of the collective West, which imposes sanctions against one, two, three countries, provokes and creates conditions for a global crisis, a food crisis,” she explained.
“Russia is ready [to do] everything to prevent a food crisis, to prevent hunger, rising food prices, which, first of all, have a very substantial effect on ordinary citizens of all countries.”
She added; “We have a very well-developed agricultural sector, it’s replaced all imports and is absolutely independent of any foreign influences.
“Russia is ready to fulfil its contractual obligations in full, although taking into account the sanctions it will be difficult to do (so).”