South Africa has accused for supply arms to Russia; According to Reuben Brigety, a Russian ship carrying weapons and ammunition docked in Cape Town in December.
The office of President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed disappointment over the allegations and stated that no proof had been shown to back them up.
Claims of neutrality in the invasion of Ukraine have been upheld by the nation.
At a media event on Thursday in Pretoria, Mr. Brigety claimed that Washington has reservations about the nation’s publicly stated non-alignment stance on the issue.
He made reference to a cargo ship that he was “confident” had guns and ammunition on board “as it made its way back to Russia” when it docked at the Simon’s Town naval facility between December 6 and December 8 of last year.
The arming of the Russians is extremely serious
At the time, the Lady R’s presence had seemed odd and some local politicians had expressed concerns.
Mr. Brigety made a devastating claim that seemed to catch South Africa’s leaders off guard: “The arming of the Russians is quite serious, and we do not consider this matter to be settled.
Following the accusations, the South African government announced the creation of an impartial investigation headed by a retired judge, according to a spokesman for the president’s office.
The persistent cozy relationship between South Africa and Russia has drawn criticism from the US for months.
Regarding South Africa’s involvement in military drills with Russia and China on the anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine, it also expressed concern.
Opposition figures criticized the naval drills, which took place over a 10-day period in February, for endorsing the Russian invasion.
The South African government denied that the war simulations were provocatively scheduled to coincide with the anniversary and claimed that the country regularly hosts comparable drills with other countries, including France and the US.
Previously, South Africa voted against the invasion in a UN vote. It also declined to censure Russia alongside the US and Europe.
President Ramaphosa responded to a question from opposition leader John Steenhuisen by telling parliament on Thursday that the remarks made by the US ambassador would be investigated.
The US State Department comments
If they are accurate, they undermine South Africa’s claim of neutrality and some might even allege it is involved in Russia’s continued aggression against Ukraine.
One foreign relations specialist observed, “If South African bullets are found on Ukraine bodies, that is not a position we would want to be in.”
The information around the arms stockpile is still sketchy. It is unclear if a state-owned or a South African-based armaments industry would have provided the guns.
In any case, this is not encouraging for South Africa’s relations with other countries, particularly with the US, one of its main trading partners.
In light of these allegations, South Africa’s main concern is the perception that the nation is not only non-aligned but has also chosen to be a “soft ally” to Russia at a time when some Western nations view Russia as an aggressor responsible for human rights violations.
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