Zimbabwe plans to make cooperation with Moscow “more comprehensive” than ever before, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has told RT Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa. © Sputnik / Aleksandr Kazakov

Zimbabwe considers its relations with Russia “excellent” and seeks to deepen ties, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said in an exclusive interview with RT on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Saturday.

According to the African leader, Moscow has been instrumental in helping the country achieve independence from its former “colonial masters” – the UK – and Harare will always value this support.

“The relations between Harare and Moscow are historical because they assisted us to attain independence in our country. Zimbabwe was a British colony and we did not get our independence from the British over a telephone call – we had to struggle for it… to fight for the dignity of our people… We will never forget this,” Mnangagwa stated.

He noted that despite the challenging geopolitical situation, with both countries struggling under Western sanctions, mutual cooperation between Moscow and Harare has been stable, and both plan to “make our relations more comprehensive than before.”

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While Russia has been operating under Ukraine-related sanctions for the past two years, Zimbabwe has been living under Western sanctions since 2003. Commenting on the restrictions, the Zimbabwean president said they are “unlawful,” arguing that the US has no right to be “the policeman of the world.”

Mnangagwa also praised Russia’s continued support in alleviating the challenges regarding his country’s food security, noting that in Africa, this is a matter of utmost importance.

“In our region, the objective of any government is to… achieve food security. We need fertilizer and… have excellent relations with Russia in terms of acquiring fertilizer and promoting not only food security but a surplus in [food] production,” he stated, referring to the 25,000 tons of wheat and 23,000 tons of fertilizer Moscow donated to Zimbabwe earlier this year.

Mnangagwa spoke about the impact of sanctions on his country, as well as plans to lower exposure to Western currencies, and shared his opinion on the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza.

You can hear the rest of his comments in the full interview.