What you need to know:
- But Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, a former presidential aspirant and leader of the opposition National Unity Platform, condemned the government’s neutrality and seeming support for Russia.
President Museveni yesterday met the ambassador of the Russian Federation to Uganda, Mr Vladlen Semivolos, a day after the UN General Assembly voted to reprimand Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
The UN General Assembly on Wednesday voted 141-5, with 35 countries, including Uganda, abstaining for a resolution denouncing Russian aggression against Ukraine. Five nations voted against the measure; Russia, Belarus, Syria, North Korea, and Eritrea.
Uganda’s special envoy and ambassador to the United Nations Adonia Ayebare explained in a tweet that abstaining from voting at the UN Assembly was for strategic reasons.
“Uganda abstained on the UN General Assembly vote on the Ukraine Crisis. As incoming chair of the Non- Aligned Movement (NAM), neutrality is key. Uganda will continue to play a constructive role in the maintenance of peace and security both regionally and globally,” the tweet reads.
But in a statement released yesterday, State House confirmed that the President and the Russian ambassador “discussed matters of mutual interest between the two countries.”
The State House statement reads: “President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has today held a bilateral meeting with the Ambassador of the Russian Federation H.E Vladlen Semivolos during which they discussed matters of mutual interest between the two countries.”
No other details were given beyond the brief statement.
Mr Vladlen was accompanied by Dr Evgeny Kalashnikov, the Ideology Head of Mission of the Russian Federation, Uganda’s minister of Foreign Affairs Gen Abubaker Jeje Odongo; Mr Arthur Kafeero, the director of Protocol and Public Diplomacy at Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The UN Security Council last convened an emergency Assembly in 1982 to intervene in the Syria and Israel conflict.
Some politicians in the country said Uganda’s abstaining from voting was not surprising given the earlier signals from Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the President’s son and the commander of Land Forces, who expressed his support for Russia.
He described the invasion of Ukraine as Russia’s ‘special operation’ and added that it was a surprising one.
“The majority of mankind (that are non-white) support Russia’s stand in Ukraine. Putin is absolutely right! When the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) parked nuclear armed missiles in Cuba in 1962, the West was ready to blow up the world over it. Now when North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) does the same, they expect Russia to do differently?” Gen Kainerugaba said in a tweet on February 28.
But Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, a former presidential aspirant and leader of the opposition National Unity Platform, condemned the government’s neutrality and seeming support for Russia.
“As the world unites in condemnation of the Ukrainian invasion, Museveni and his son are the few tyrants in support of the war. Not surprised. Nothing better to expect from a man who finds pleasure in torture and murder of unarmed civilians, including women and children,” he said in a tweet two days ago.
Ukraine war going as planned - Russia
Russian government yesterday said his “special military operation” - otherwise known as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine - is “going according to plan”.
In a televised speech, he accused Ukrainian forces of taking thousands of foreign citizens hostage and using civilians as human shields - he provided no evidence for these claims. He added that Russians and Ukrainians were one people and said he would destroy this ‘anti-Russia’ created by the West.
More than 2,000 Ukrainian civilians have died while about one million have fled the country since the war started last Thursday, according to media reports.