Germany's foreign office says it's "sorry" for sending a tweet that caused offence in Africa by using a stereotype about the continent.
The tweet was a dig at Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's tour of Africa, but its reference to African wildlife sparked accusations of insensitivity.
"Lavrov is in Africa, not to see [leopard emoji] but to bluntly claim that Ukraine's partners 'want to destroy everything Russian'," the tweet said.
Many saw it as a generalisation of Africa being no more than a vast landscape of wild animals.
Ebba Kalondo, spokeswoman for the African Union's chair, was among those critical of the tweet.
In its apology, the German foreign office said: "Point taken and sorry. We value our African partners."
"Our tweet was in no way intended to mean offence," it added.
It explained that the leopard emoji was in reference to German-made Leopard tanks approved for combat in Ukraine.
"We wanted to call out the lies that Russia uses to justify its imperialist war of aggression against Ukraine," the foreign office tweeted.
Social embed from twitter