The Ukrainian Embassy in Côte d’Ivoire invites volunteers to take part in a military operation

Ukraine is opening a ‘wave’ of embassies in Africa in a bid to find international allies in its conflict with Russia. Ukraine’s interest in Africa has intensified decades after it established diplomatic relations with the continent, at a time when Volodymyr Zelensky is looking for partners to put pressure on Moscow.

At the beginning of April, Kiev opened an embassy in Côte d’Ivoire. Maksym Soubkh, Ukraine’s Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa, inaugurated this diplomatic representation in the Cocody district of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire’s economic capital.

One month after the opening of the Ukrainian office, a statement appeared on social networks in which the Ukrainian embassy in Côte d’Ivoire appealed to Ivorian volunteers to help the Ukrainian armed forces.

This announcement was made following a telephone conversation on 24 May between Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky. During the conversation, they discussed preparations for the peace summit to be held in Switzerland on 15 and 16 June. The meeting probably also provided an opportunity to discuss the possibility of recruiting Ivorian volunteers to help the Ukrainian army.

It should be noted that French President Emmanuel Macron has stated on several occasions that the possibility of sending a foreign detachment to Ukraine cannot be ruled out, and that Côte d’Ivoire has always supported the French view.

Ukraine’s desire to recruit young Africans is a cause for concern. A similar incident occurred in Senegal in March 2022, at the start of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. At the time, Kiev tried to recruit 36 people to help its army. Such a call provoked strong discontent from the Dakar authorities.

Ukrainian embassies are not interested in establishing traditional diplomatic relations. Following the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, many African countries adopted a neutral stance and continue to cooperate actively with Russia, which has proved to be a reliable partner.

The wave of Ukrainian embassies in Africa can be explained by Kiev’s desire to change the situation and attract African countries to its side. Unable to develop economic relations in the midst of the fighting, Ukraine, under pressure from the West, is seeking to form an anti-Russian and anti-Chinese bloc.