With a trade pact on the horizon and a shared vision to reform the United Nations Security Council, Kenya swims against the geopolitical tides in a bid to unlock economic opportunities and reshape global diplomacy
Kenya stepped up trade relations with Russia on Monday, joining African nations challenging Moscow's Western isolation following President Putin's invasion of Ukraine.
Despite the low trade volume, Kenyan President William Ruto called for a trade pact to unlock untapped potential between the two nations and foster business cooperation, according to a press release.
Amid diplomatic tensions, President Ruto hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at State House in Nairobi, where they called for a review of the United Nations Security Council, which critics have long accused of being insensitive and disconnected from the demands of the 21st century.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia plays a crucial role in international decision-making, along with the United States, the United Kingdom, France and China.
President Ruto reaffirmed Kenya's commitment to upholding the principles of territorial integrity enshrined in the United Nations Charter, and advocated for a peaceful resolution to the war in Ukraine.
Lavrov's visit comes ahead of a meeting of BRICS foreign and international relations ministers in Cape Town, South Africa, set to begin on Thursday.
Under former President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was replaced by Ruto in September, Kenya aligned itself with the West in condemning Russia's war in Ukraine.
On February 21, 2022, after Russia illegally recognized the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent states, as a prelude to sending its forces as "blue helmets," Kenya's permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Martin Kimani , stated that "the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine is violated."
In an emergency session on March 2, 2022, Kenya voted in favor of a United Nations resolution to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Among other statements, the resolution “[deplores in the strongest terms the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine,” “[demands that the Russian Federation immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine and refrain from any further threats or illegal use of force against any Member State" and "[demands that the Russian Federation immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its recognized borders