Russia-Ukraine Dialogues: African responses to the war

This week’s panel of LSE IDEAS’ Russia-Ukraine Dialogues focused on African responses to the war in Ukraine. #LSERussiaUkraine

Panelists discussed the following issues:
- Do responses differ across the African continent?
- How have Ukranian official voices been received?
- How has the relationship between African states and Ukraine and Russia been impacted by the war?



This webinar was held on Tuesday 21 March.

Meet the speakers and chair

Abdelhak Bassou (@PolicyCenterNS) is Senior Fellow at the Policy Center for the New South (@PolicyCenterNS), Member of its Editorial & Research Oversight Steering Committee, and Affiliate Professor at the Faculty of Governance, Economic and Social Sciences (FGSES) of the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P). Specializing in security, strategy and defense studies, he previously occupied several offices within the Directorate General of the Moroccan National Security where he was Borders’ Division Chief from 1978 to 1993. He was appointed Director of the Royal Institute of Police in 1998, before serving as the Chief of Regional Security in Errachidia from 1999 to 2003, and Sidi Kacem from 2003 to 2005. In 2006, he became Head of the Central General Intelligence until 2009. Bassou contributed to the output of several endeavors of international organizations including the Council of Arab Interior Ministers from 1986 to 1992, where he represented the Directorate General of National Security in various meetings.

Elizabeth Sidiropoulos (@Siderop @SAIIA_info) is the chief executive of the South African Institute of International Affairs. Her areas of expertise lie in South African foreign policy, Africa and external powers, global governance and south-south cooperation. Her most recent publications include co-edited volumes on Values, Interests and Power: South African Foreign Policy in Uncertain Times (2020), and The Palgrave Handbook of Development Cooperation for Achieving the 2030 Agenda (2021).  She is the editor-in-chief of the South African Journal of International Affairs, a policy-oriented, peer-reviewed and interdisciplinary forum for discussion on Africa’s and South Africa’s international affairs. She is a regular commentator in South African and foreign media. In December 2020 she was appointed to serve on the UN’s Second High-Level Advisory Board on Economic and Social Affairs. She is a co-chair of the task force on the SDGs of the Indian Think 20 presidency in 2023.

Liubov Abravitova (@lubovabravitova) is Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of South Africa since April 14, 2020, to the Republic of Mozambique since September 2021, to the Republic of Botswana since October 2021. Prior to this, Liubov Abravitova assumed her role as Counsellor at the Embassy of Ukraine in Pretoria in January 2017. Earlier, she served as the Counsellor of the Middle East and Africa Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. Ms. Abravitova entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine in March 2003. Her overseas tours have included Ottawa (Canada), Brussels (Belgium), and Geneva (Switzerland). In Belgium, she was the vice-consul, responsible for Belgium and Luxembourg. She was press attaché for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2007 until 2009.

Leon Hartwell (@LeonHartwell) is a Senior Associate at LSE IDEAS and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington DC. His research interests include conflict resolution, genocide, diplomacy, democracy, the Russia-Ukraine war, and the Western Balkans. Previously, Hartwell was the Senior Advisor of the Central and South-East Europe Programme (CSEEP) and the 2022 Sotirov Fellow at LSE IDEAS, and CEPA’s Acting Director of the Transatlantic Leadership Program.  From 2012 to 2013, he was also the Senior Policy Advisor for Political and Development Cooperation at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Zimbabwe, where his work included government and civil society engagement, political reporting, peace building projects, and supporting human rights defenders. In 2019, Hartwell completed a joint doctoral degree summa cum laude at Leipzig University (Germany) and Stellenbosch University (South Africa). His thesis analyzed the use of mediation in the resolution of armed conflicts. Hartwell has published extensively in professional scholarly outlets and mainstream media ranging from the Negotiation Journal (Harvard-MIT-Tufts) and Oxford University Press to War on The Rocks. He speaks Afrikaans, English, Dutch, and Latvian, which he studied at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute.