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Zimbabwe's Mnangagwa Hails Russia's Putin as 'My Dear Friend' And Ally

President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Russia leader Vladmir Putin
President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Russia leader Vladmir Putin

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday cast President Vladimir Putin as "my dear brother" and said Russia was a consistent ally of Zimbabwe.

Mnangagwa, speaking at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, praised Putin for defending the independence and territorial integrity of Russia.

"Zimbabwe considers the Russian Federation as a consistent global ally," Mnangagwa said on a stage shared by Putin in St Petersburg. "Strength lies in our unity, adaptability and innovation."

"It is regrettable and unacceptable that the collective West continues to peruse hegemonic tendencies that blatantly violate the sovereign equality of nations, justice and fairness," Mnangagwa told the forum.

Mnangagwa called for an end to sanctions on his own country that he said were imposed for the "crime" of Zimbabwean people claiming their own land.

Still Zimbabwe, he said, was "open for business."

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)