A handout photo made available by South Africa's Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) of African Heads of State and Government, including South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa (L), holding a consultation while en route from Poland to Kyiv by train, 15 June 2023 (issued 16 June 2023), as part of their African Peace Mission aimed at mediating the end of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. EPA-EFE/GCIS SOUTH AFRICA HANDOUT

Explosions rock Kyiv as African leaders begin peace mission in Ukraine

Kyiv, Jun 16 (EFE).- Russian forces launched a series of drone and missile attacks on Kyiv shortly after a delegation of African leaders arrived in the Ukrainian capital on Friday to meet president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“Explosions in the capital (…) Missiles are still flying over Kyiv,” mayor Vitaliy Klitschko wrote on Telegram.

The city’s Military Administration confirmed that air defenses had been activated in the region and urged residents to remain in shelters.

An African peacekeeping mission led by South African president Cyril Ramaphosa arrived in Ukraine for the first stop on a tour that will also take them to Moscow.

The delegation of African leaders is seeking to mediate a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine.

The leaders were in the town of Bucha on the outskirts of Kyiv visiting a mass grave when the explosions rocked the capital.

“Putin ‘builds confidence’ by launching the largest missile attack on Kyiv in weeks, exactly amid the visit of African leaders to our capital. Russian missiles are a message to Africa: Russia wants more war, not peace,” Ukraine’s foreign affairs minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter. EFE