The Ugandan and Zimbabwean presidents met with their Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Thursday, on the side-lines of the Russia-Africa Summit in Saint Petersburg.
The Russian leader said that the development of ties with African countries is "one of the invariable priorities" of the Russian Federation, speaking during the bilateral talk with Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni.
Putin has been holding bilateral meetings with African leaders during the two-day summit, the second since 2019.
The number of heads of state has diminished from 43 in 2019 to 17 now, with 49 countries delegations present. The Kremlin has denounced what it called crude Western pressure to discourage African nations from taking part.
Support for Russia
Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa voiced support for Russia's actions in Ukraine, saying, "Allow me to personally state that Zimbabwe is in solidarity with the Russian Federation in your country's special military operation in Ukraine."
African countries remain divided over the war in Ukraine.
The continent's 54 nations make up the largest voting bloc at the United Nations and are move divided than any other region on General Assembly resolutions criticising Russia's actions in Ukraine.
Zimbabwe is one of one of 17 African countries who abstained from voting on a UN resolution in 2022 demanding Russian troops' withdrawal.
Mnangagwa also condemned "the unjustified and vindictive ban on the sale of Russian diamonds on the world market."
Russian diamond giant Alrosa set up operations in the southern African country in 2019, with the Zimbabwean government's support.
Earlier, Uganda's Museveni invited Russia to take part in oil exploration in East Africa.
"We've got some oil which we want to export as crude, but also refine for the East African market. But the Russian companies can also take part in the exploration of for more oil in our area," the Ugandan president told Putin.