Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky stands ready to visit any country in the African continent to expand the horizons of friendship and will gladly welcome a meeting with the African Union in efforts to “attain peace in our soil”.

Zelensky was speaking to a group of 15 journalists from 10 African countries on a week-long media tour of Ukraine at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get a first-hand impression of the impact of war on citizens.

The president fielded questions from all the journalists – and true to his civilian nature, being the leader who comes from the arts – he spoke from the heart, answering with the utmost candidness questions posed to him in the Office of the President.

He spoke about the difficulty that his country is facing – economically, socially and politically - on account of the raging war waged by Russia, who contests Ukraine’s plans to join NATO, fearing this brings their enemy to their doorstep and flouts the concessions of the Minsk Agreement.

At the economic level, all the money from Ukraine’s national treasury is diverted to the military – either to procure weapons or to make them – as well as to payment of troops fighting in the battlefields.

Zelensky acknowledges Ukraine’s incapacity in air defense, and makes an impassioned appeal to international partners – including African countries, to support them build capacity in this area to match Russia’s air strikes.

But he is confident that the production of drones in Ukraine is proceeding at a good rate, something that was unthinkable before the start of the full-scale war.

There is also the destruction of infrastructure – critical strategic energy points; bridges; churches and national monuments- which they have to contend with during the war.

Socially, life has turned topsy-turvy for the average Ukrainian citizen who now has to contend with martial law; midnight to 5am curfew; stay vigilant to sirens warning of air raids; including children who, as in the case of Kharkhiv, attend underground schools!

Zelensky takes pride in the ‘unbreakable’ spirit and resilience of the Ukrainian people and finds joy in leading them at this most critical time of war.

Although he characterises the stalemate in which the war has descended as a “frozen conflict” – one in which there is no possibility to repel the enemy -he expresses full confidence that they will ultimately prevail over Russia.

The confidence is borne from gains made in repelling Wagner Group – which Kyiv officials, among them Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba characterise as a “terrorist group - from Ukraine.

Sadly, the President was curiously ambivalent when Botswana Guardian asked him to locate the nexus or convergence point between his 10 Points Peace Formula, the African Presidents’ Peace Initiative and the Chinese

President Xi Jinping’s Peace Plan as well as what had been accomplished thus far to bring peace to Ukraine.

Zelensky insisted, as he’s done always, that peace can only be achieved in the mould or terms of his Peace Plan since they are the victims of aggression and not anyone else.