US: The United States says that South Africa gave Russia weapons
By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria
Pretoria rebuked the US ambassador to South Africa for making the accusation that the country provided arms to Russia covertly.
Reuben Brigety stated at a Thursday press conference that the United States believed that a Russian freighter that docked at a Cape Town naval base in December had been loaded with weapons and ammunition.
According to a video of the remarks, Brigety stated, “We are confident that weapons were loaded on to that vessel, and I would bet my life on the accuracy of that assertion.” The furnishing of Russia by South Africa … is in a general sense unsuitable.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office hit back, saying it was “frustrating” that Brigety had “embraced a counterproductive public stance” yet reporting the send off of an investigation into the issue.
The move was later referred to as “a welcome step” by a spokesperson for the United States state department. The fact that a sanctioned Russian vessel docked at a South African naval port is extremely troubling,” Vedant Patel told reporters in Washington.
He stated that “any country taking steps to support Russia’s illegal and brutal war in Ukraine” would face sanctions from the United States.
The invasion of Ukraine, which has largely isolated Moscow on the international stage, has not been condemned by South Africa. The nation, an African powerhouse that also wields moral authority as a result of its defeat of apartheid, declares that it wants to remain neutral and supports dialogue as a means of resolving the conflict.
However, critics point to a number of recent incidents as indications of a leaning toward the Kremlin. It held a joint military exercise with China and Russia earlier this year, and last month, a sanctioned Russian military cargo plane delivered what defense authorities called “diplomatic mail” to an air force base in the middle of the night.
Brigety appeared to be referring to an earlier incident in which the Lady R, a cargo ship under western sanctions that was operating under the Russian flag, docked at the largest naval base in South Africa.
According to news outlet News24, the envoy stated, “Among the things we noted was the docking of the cargo ship in the Simon’s Town naval base between 6 and 8 December 2022, which we are confident uploaded weapons and ammunition on to that vessel in Simon’s Town as it made its way back to Russia.”
The US would like South Africa to begin “rehearsing its non-arrangement strategy,” he added.