According to recent research conducted by Ipsos, a research company, it was discovered that 61% of South Africans believe that Russia has committed war crimes during its invasion of Ukraine.
The survey was carried out randomly among individuals aged 18 and above in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, and Zambia.
Russia initiated the invasion of its neighboring country, Ukraine, in February of the previous year. However, there have been no direct negotiations between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky to bring an end to the hostilities.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has consistently maintained that the South African government believes the conflict can be resolved through peaceful negotiations.
The survey was conducted prior to the Africa Peace Mission to Kyiv and Moscow, which involved Ramaphosa and other African heads of state. It also took place ahead of the upcoming Russia-Africa Summit in July and the BRICS Summit in South Africa in August.
Among the South Africans surveyed, 18% expressed the opinion that South Africa should support Russia, while 23% believed it should support Ukraine.
The research also revealed that 44% of South Africans, 38% of Nigerians, and 37% of Ugandans agreed that Russia is not the aggressor in the war.
Additionally, 43% of South Africans, 36% of Nigerians, and 23% of Senegalese respondents agreed that it is reasonable for their countries to support Russia based on historical reasons.
In terms of international law, 56% of South Africans agreed that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine goes against the principles of international law.
Despite President Ramaphosa’s consistent stance on peaceful negotiations, 51% of South Africans stated that the government should show concern for Russia’s occupation of parts of Ukraine and insist on the withdrawal of Russian forces.
Another 56% believed that all African countries should not take sides in the war, and this viewpoint was supported by 59% of Zambians, 66% of Kenyans, 49% of Ugandans, 49% of Nigerians, and 46% of Senegalese.
Furthermore, 50% of South Africans surveyed agreed that Africa cannot afford to remain neutral in the war.