Germany apologized yesterday for using a leopard emoji to mock Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Twitter, which offended Africans, the Associated Press reported, quoted by BTA.
Germany's foreign ministry joked with Russia's foreign minister during his tour of Africa, tweeting that he was not there to look for leopards but was trying to justify Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The post and the emoji used by the German Foreign Ministry on its official Twitter account poke fun at Germany's decision to send some of its advanced Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine to help in the war against Russia.
However, an official from the African Union took offense and stated that in this way the continent was presented only as a continent of wild animals. Ebba Kalondo, spokesperson for African Union President Moussa Faki Mahamat, responded to the German government's post, asking if Africa, its people and wildlife were "just a joke to them".
"Foreign policy is not a joke and should not be used to score cheap geopolitical points," Kalondo wrote in a follow-up post.
The German foreign ministry apologized and said the post was not intended to offend, but rather to "show the lies that Russia is using to justify the war against Ukraine".
Lavrov this week visited the Republic of South Africa, Eswatini, Angola, and yesterday he arrived in Eritrea. In Africa, he repeated his claims that the US and its Western allies are using Ukraine as a tool for a "hybrid war" against Russia.
Many African countries still maintain historical relations with Moscow. South Africa was one of the countries that abstained from last year's UN vote to condemn the Russian invasion. Eritrea voted against the decision along with Russia, Belarus, North Korea and Syria.
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