President Cyril Ramaphosa says the bloodshed could have been averted if US-led bloc hadn’t increased instability
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is shown speaking to reporters at a conference last August in Berlin. © Getty Images / Maja Hitij
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, a potential mediator in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, has faulted NATO for triggering war in the former Soviet republic by expanding eastward onto Moscow’s doorstep.
“The war could have been avoided if NATO had heeded the warnings from amongst its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater, not less, instability in the region,” Ramaphosa told South African lawmakers on Thursday.
Rather than reaping an expected peace dividend after the Cold War ended in 1991, NATO expanded, adding former Warsaw Pact nations and ex-Soviet republics to its fold, starting with Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in 1999. Another wave came on board in 2004, including Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Albania and Croatia followed in 2009; then came Montenegro in 2017 and North Macedonia in 2020. Ukraine and Georgia have asked to join the bloc.