Published On: Wed, May 24th, 2023
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Russia’s ‘new ally’ as South African party chief promises weapons to Putin | World | News


Vladimir Putin has apparently gained a new ally as the leader of the third-largest political party in South Africa said he would “supply weapons to Russia“.

In an interview with the BBC in Johannesburg, Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said that “South Africa is an ally of Russia” and that his country’s government’s position of non-alignment only applied to the war in Ukraine.

He told HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur: “I will go beyond the friendship with Russia. In the war, I will align with Russia and I will even supply the weapons.”

He also confirmed that his party would withdraw South Africa from the International Criminal Court after it issued an arrest warrant for the Russian President over alleged war crimes.

The comments come as the US ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety, accused Cyril Ramaphosa’s government of supplying Russia with arms to use against Ukraine via a cargo ship that had secretly docked at a naval base near Cape Town for three days in December.

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Brigety said the United States is confident the weapons were loaded onto the vessel at Simon’s Town Naval Base and then transported to Russia.

The ambassador called the possibility “extremely serious”.

So far, South Africa has maintained a neutral stance on the war in Ukraine, saying it hopes for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

In recent months, however, he has shown a certain closeness to Russia, as in January, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was hosted in the country for talks.

A few weeks later the South African navy participated in an exercise together with Russian and Chinese warships off its coast.

Ramaphosa replied that the claim on the ship “is being examined and over time we will be able to talk about it”, adding that an investigation will be opened into the matter.

Already in January, the opposition Democratic Alliance party had raised the issue of a Russian ship that had called at Simon’s Town, asking the government for clarification, which had replied only that it was collecting information on the case.

South African Defence Minister Thandi Modise had also said that the ship in all likelihood contained “an old order” of ammunition, which however had to be unloaded and not loaded at Simon’s Town.





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