SA will welcome Russian warships despite criticism | Company

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Russian President Vladimir Putin


South Africa will continue naval exercises off the east coast with Russian and Chinese warships next month, a decision that could further strain relations with some of its biggest trading partners.

Operation Mosi, which means smoke, will take place from February 17 to 26. South Africa’s reluctance to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its decision to allow sanctioned Russian ships to dock in its ports has already fueled tensions with the US, UK and European Union, which support Ukraine in the conflict. stepped up. The country’s largest opposition party doubts whether it is wise to continue with the exercises.

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“This gives the impression of not being neutral, but one-sidedly biased. It could clearly alienate us from other important trading partners, the west,” said DA MP Kobus Marais. “This is in Russia’s best interest,” Marais said, calling it “another bad judgement, a disgrace”.

While the exercise follows a similar event in 2019, it comes about a year after Russia invaded Ukraine, an event that revealed South Africa’s close ties with Russia due to historic support for the African country’s liberation struggle and their joint membership of the BRICS. group of nations.

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The US, Germany, Japan and the UK are the most important trading partners for South Africa, while Russia is not in the top 15. Spokesmen for the South African Ministry of Defense and Navy did not return calls to their phones or immediately reply to emails.

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