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On Ukraine-Russia journey, South African chief’s delegation caught at Polish airport over arms permits

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A delegation of safety officers, diplomats and journalists accompanying South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on his peace mission to Ukraine and Russia was stranded in a individually chartered airplane at Warsaw’s airport for greater than 24 hours


On this photograph supplied by the South African Authorities Communications and Data Companies (GCIS) South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, left, and different delegates journey on a prepare in direction of Kyiv, from Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, June 15, 2023. Ramaphosa is participating within the African Peace Mission aimed toward a peaceable decision of the battle between Ukraine and Russia. (South African Authorities Communication and Data Companies through AP)

The Related Press

JOHANNESBURG — A delegation of safety officers, diplomats and journalists accompanying the South African president to Ukraine and Russia was stranded on a individually chartered airplane at Warsaw’s airport for greater than 24 hours. Polish authorities stated on Friday that the issue was over permissions for firearms.

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is amongst a bunch of African leaders visiting Kyiv and Moscow on a mission to encourage a decision to Russia’s struggle on Ukraine.

In response to the Poland Border Guard company, Ramaphosa’s safety element didn’t have permission for the weapons they have been carrying, which resulted in a standoff. The president’s workplace described the incident as “very unlucky and deeply regrettable” however stated his safety was not compromised.

“Members of the delegation had weapons which they didn’t have permission to convey, however they may go away the airplane themselves,” the Polish company tweeted Friday.

“Our officers stay engaged with their Polish counterparts in attempting to resolve the scenario,” stated Vincent Magwenya, Ramaphosa’s spokesman.

Among the many group was Maj. Gen. Wally Rhoode, the top of Ramaphosa’s private safety unit, who claimed the delegation confronted hostile therapy from Polish authorities, together with one in every of their feminine colleagues who was strip searched.

Rhoode advised journalists from the steps of the airplane that Polish officers have been being intentionally obstructive and had tried to “confiscate” firearms from them — although the arms have been being transported in safe {cases} within the airplane’s cargo maintain.

South African journalists who have been caught on the airplane have been tweeting that they have been later advised to disembark and proceed to customs.

It was unclear whether or not they can be allowed to proceed to Kyiv, the place Ramaphosa and different African heads of state are anticipated to carry talks with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The incident sparked debate in South Africa, the place many urged the standoff was an oblique message to the nation over its non-aligned stance on the struggle that has led to diplomatic tensions with the West.


Related Press writers Vanessa Gera in Warsaw and Gerald Imray in Cape City, South Africa, contributed to this story.

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