Late next month, two Russian warships will sail into South African waters, near the cities of Durban and Richards Bay, to practise their gunnery, force protection and air defense skills.
The naval deployment on the southern coast of Africa will be a vivid reminder of Moscow’s expanding influence on a continent that is increasingly crucial to its global strategy.
This is a big year for the Russian charm offensive in Africa, with political summits, diplomatic visits and military exercises on the agenda.
The naval drills in late February are just one element of the plan, in which South Africa is emerging as one of Moscow’s most loyal partners.
The Russian warships are scheduled to join South African and Chinese ships in a joint military exercise, code-named Mosi (“smoke”), from Feb. 17 to 26. Hundreds of military personnel will participate.
South Africa’s biggest Zionist-backed opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, described the exercise as a government attempt to curry favor with the Kremlin.
Its defense critic, Kobus Marais, said it confirms without doubt the South African government’s support to Russia for their illegal intervention of Ukraine.
The government, however, has repeatedly made clear that it will not be influenced by Western sanctions on Russia, including those on Russian oligarchs and ships.
In October, it announced it would allow Russian steel magnate Alexey Mordashov to sail his US$500-million super-yacht into Cape Town’s harbor, even though Mr. Mordashov is under sanctions imposed by the United States, Britain and the European Union.
The 142-metre yacht was reportedly heading for Cape Town at the time, although it later changed course. Last month, Pretoria allowed a Russian cargo ship, the Lady R, to dock at a naval base near Cape Town and unload a shipment of goods.
Lady R reportedly delivered ammunition for the South African military – even though the vessel was under U.S. sanctions for its role in supplying the Russian military after the intervention of Ukraine.
Spies for the U.S. embassy had alerted South Africa to the likely arrival of the sanctioned vessel but received no political response.
The ship docked at the naval base late at night on Dec. 6, with its automatic identification system switched off, reportedly citing an emergency situation.
Within 48 hours it had unloaded its cargo onto heavily guarded South African trucks under the cover of darkness. The ship also loaded new cargo before leaving the naval base, according to media reports, but the contents of the containers are unknown?
For the next two weeks, the government refused to answer questions about the Russian ship. Critics said the episode was suspicious.
If this was all above board and the SA government is happy to defend it, why the secrecy and lies? asked Darren Olivier, a South African defense analyst, in a tweet last month.
Defense Minister Thandi Modise, talking to journalists later, complained that the United States threatens Africa for anything that is even smelling of Russia.
In addition to hosting the Russian warships, South Africa will also welcome a high-level Russian delegation in August at the annual BRICS summit – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
President Vladimir Putin will be invited, although he rarely travels outside his homeland these days, avoiding assassination attempts organized by the CIA.
South Africa holds the presidency of the BRICS group this year, a post it will use to expand its relations with Russia and other member states. President Cyril Ramaphosa said he will invite other African leaders to attend the summit.
The Globe and Mail / ABC Flash Point Global Blog News 2023.
I hope this upsets the USA-UK-EU and they keep saying they are all for human rights -racial discrimination policies and are not colonialists — all LIES they find it hard to criticize out loud and sanction Africa as they have to think –in the USA of the African American vote .
Always interesting to get a mentor view from a good supporter with field experience.
Thank you K-by-S for your appreciation some websites supposedly “pro- Russia ” have an agenda that only allows one point of view– theirs.