Josep Borrell has a famous role as an advertiser for the EU’s elite’s view of Africa. Russia would have found it hard to develop a believable media campaign that portrayed EU leaders as boneheaded racists who think Africans are gloriously ignorant and stupid.

Borrell notoriously said the EU was  a garden and the rest of the world was a jungle. (Note 1)

Now Borrell has put the other foot in his mouth. He is now reported as saying that Africans do not know where the Donbass is or who Putin is.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who called Europe the “garden” amidst the “jungle,” said, on Thursday, in another racist comment, that African countries who supported Russia did not know who Vladimir Putin was or where the Donbass was located. During a session of the EU Parliament’s Special Committee on Foreign Interference, Borrell said “Russia is able to deflect blame, twist reality, and find an audience in some parts of world. I have seen in TV screens these young African people on the streets of Bamako [Mali’s capital] with billboards saying ‘[Russian President Vladimir] Putin, thanks. You have saved Donbas and now you will save us.’ It is shocking. You can consider that these people do not know where Donbas is or maybe they do not even know who Putin is.” (Note 2)

Most liberation movements in Africa were supported by the Soviet Union. Soviet forces together with Cubans played a critical role in the fall of apartheid. Most of the leaders of Africa remember this important role of the Soviet Union, particularly South African leaders. Russia is perceived in Africa as the successor to the Soviet Union, as a mere rebranding. Russia held a summit with African countries at Sochi in 2019 ( Note 3).

ANC’s relationship with Russia remains profound, with Putin meeting the South African President in Japan (Note 4), and making a state visit in 2006 (note 5).

‘Putin visits South Africa

5 September 2006

Russian president Vladimir Putin arrived in Cape Town, leading a delegation of government officials and business people on a two day official visit. This was the first ever visit of a Russian head of state to SA. He was welcomed by President Thabo Mbeki in a special ceremony. The two rulers held bilateral talks and attended a joint press conference later in the day. Strategies to strengthen economic and political ties between the countries topped the agenda. South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), received military training and financial support from Moscow during its many years of fighting apartheid.

, Putin with Samora Machel in 1986 in Mozambique.

Given Borrell’s senior position and the fact that he would have access to intelligence information he must have known the truth. What can explain his behaviour? Perhaps he is a secret agent for Russia? He is doing more to disgrace the EU in Africa’s eyes than any speech by Lavrov. How clever of Russia!


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