Speaker Mudenda: Zimbabwe continues to back Russia; plans direct Moscow flights

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By UK Correspondent

ZIMBABWE continues to back Russia in the ongoing conflict with Ukraine and is looking forward to the establishment of direct flights to Moscow, Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda has said.

The head of the House of Assembly was in Russia to reciprocate a recent visit by Moscow officials to Harare.

Moscow recently to annexed a swath of Ukraine, after referenda results showed support in four partially occupied provinces to join Russia. Ukraine and its allies in the West denounced the votes as “illegal sham referendums held at gunpoint”.

“Zimbabwe was and will remain on Russia’s side even after the referendums in Ukraine,” Russian news outlet RIA Novosti reported Mudenda as saying.

“Zimbabwe was on Russia’s side even before the referendums in terms of understanding the root causes of the current situation.

“Zimbabwe and Russia are both victims of sanctions and that makes us comrades in the sanctions battle. To the extent that we are victims of sanctions, we share with Russia the same consequences of sanctions.”

He added: “So it is not surprising that Zimbabwe is on Russia’s side.”

Although Harare has not officially recognised the new regions joining Russia after the referendums, Mudenda said the process has already been initiated at Cabinet level.

Meanwhile the Speaker also said Zimbabwe was looking at establishing direct flights between Harare and Moscow.

“We work on that the Russian airline flies to Zimbabwe, and when we have appropriate airline equipment also to reciprocate that gesture by the Russian airline.

“The work is in progress,” Mudenda told another Russian publication Sputnik.

He said the issue requires “a thorough bilateral consideration on the level of the tourism and transport ministries”, and expressed hope that this would be expedited.

Mudenda added that Zimbabwe is determined to develop multilateral relations with Russia, saying that there is an intention to boost the cooperation at the highest level.