‘Indescribable danger.’ The Nelson Mandela Foundation calls for a ceasefire in Ukraine

People hold placards during a protest against Russia’s attack on Ukraine outside Shinjuku station in Tokyo, Japan.

Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images

  • The Nelson Mandela Foundation has called for a ceasefire between Ukraine and Russia.
  • The foundation has offered assistance to peace efforts.
  • He was also concerned about racism, saying white lives seemed more important.

The South African government should call for a ceasefire in the battle between Ukraine and Russia, the Nelson Mandela Foundation said on Saturday.

The foundation has offered to help with peacemaking efforts.

“We call for the cessation of hostilities and the restoration of peace to the region,” urged the foundation, which bears the name of South Africa’s first democratically elected president.

Pravda reported that the Russian Ministry of Defense announced on Saturday a ceasefire to open “humanitarian corridors to allow the inhabitants of Mariupol and Volnovakha to leave their homes”.

The publication reported that “conditions” were also created for civilians to leave Kyiv, Kharkiv and Sumy.

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The foundation’s statement noted the complexity of the situation, the “uncertainties of international rules of engagement” and the racism that was rampant in places.

“We see the unspeakable danger of nuclear power plants being attacked,” spokesman Mandlenkosi Dakada said.

He was referring to a statement by Mandela in 2003, in which the joint Nobel Peace Prize laureate spoke angrily about the failures of leadership and the lack of credible justification when the United States and other Western countries invaded Iraq in defiance of the United Nations.

“Indeed, when is one country justified in invading another? At stake here are notions of the sovereignty of nation states and the perceived right of those states to act in their own legitimate interests and assessment of the pros or cons of their actions,” the foundation said.

“It’s about nations being aware of both the extent and limits of their power and the conditions under which that power can be wielded. Today, the foundation sees significant leadership failures in many levels among the contending nations as the crisis in Ukraine unfolds.”

The foundation believes that underlying what is happening in Ukraine is a “deep contestation around the notion of ‘belonging’ in the context of spheres of influence”.

The foundation was concerned about discrimination against black people who tried to flee, who were either denied seats on buses evacuating refugees or turned away from the Polish border.

READ | I left my husband in Ukraine and fled with our 2 children

It illustrated, according to the foundation, that “white lives are considered far more important than the lives of others.”

“Racism remains as insidious and pervasive as it has ever been.”

See the full statement here.

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