Former South African President Jacob Zuma has defended Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.
In a statement released by his foundation on Sunday, Mr Zuma described the US and its western allies as “bullies” using Ukraine as a front to bring Russia to its knees through unjustifiable sanctions.
According to Mr Zuma, who is facing corruption charges in his native South Africa, Russia invaded Ukraine to protect itself from NATO expansion.
He called on those involved to sue for peace.
“I am certain that His Excellency President Vladimir Putin will reciprocate and will bring all his power to make peace a reality, as I know him to be a man of peace who has worked hard to ensure peace and stability in the globe,” Mr Zuma said.
On Monday Russia said it will open humanitarian corridors to allow the evacuation of civilians from several Ukrainian cities experiencing heavy fighting, including the capital Kyiv and the besieged port city of Mariupol.