He said Russia has no plans to occupy Ukraine — a claim that has been met with scepticism by Western leaders who have warned of an invasion by Russia for several weeks.
US President Joe Biden called it an “unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces”.
The SA government issued a statement on Wednesday saying it was “concerned about the ongoing tensions on the Ukraine and Russia border, a situation if allowed to further deteriorate could have regional and global ramifications”.
"The world does not need another war as that will result in death and destruction, hence our call for enhanced diplomacy.” it added.
“All parties have much to gain from a negotiated outcome and much to lose from an unnecessary and violent conflict.
“The United Nations Security Council [UNSC] is the body given the mandate for maintenance of international peace and security and it must exercise its role fully. As SA, we believe all the issues of concern to any of the parties must be addressed in inclusive talks led by the UNSC,” added international relations and co-operation minister Naledi Pandor.
The conflict topped the SA Twitter trends list on Thursday morning, with South Africans weighing in.
Many said the government should not get involved in the conflict, while others asked how South Africans in Ukraine would be helped.