Putin woos Zimbabwe president with free grain and presidential helicopter

Vladimir Putin has presented a helicopter to the President of Zimbabwe, the country’s authorities said on Thursday, as the Russia President seeks diplomatic support of African leaders gathering in St Petersburg.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa is part of African leaders attending a two-day Russia-Africa summit seen as a check of Putin’s support on the continent after the invasion of Ukraine.

“President Putin gave a presidential helicopter to His Excellency President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa”, wrote the Zimbabwean Ministry of Information on social networks.

It posted pictures of Mr Mnangagwa descending the stairs of the plane and sitting in side the cabin in the front of a desk set with glasses of white wine and a bowl of fruit.

“This bird will quickly be in our skies”, presidential spokesman Nick Mangwana on Twitter.

Americans and Europeans have sanction Zimbabwe’s leaders for corruption and human rights violations.

Mr Mnangagwa, 80, who’s standing for re-election in what analysts are expecting might be a near election subsequent month, has condemn the sanctions for his country’s financial woes.

“The victims of this sanctions ought to cooperate”, stated Mr Mnangagwa, speaking in front of the helicopter, in a video posted via his Ministry of Information.

On Thursday, Mr Putin named Zimbabwe as one of the six African nations to receive free grain from Russia, after the Kremlin withdrew from the settlement permitting Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea.

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