South African News

Russian Ambassador debunks US claims of SA supplying arms to Russia

The Russian embassy in South Africa has responded to charges made by US Ambassador Reuben Brigety that South Africa transferred ammunition onto a Russian ship last year.

This comes after Defence Minister Thandi Modise attacked the narrative that South Africa has picked sides in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The Russian embassy said in a statement on Tuesday that Brigety’s accusations were not surprising because the “US appears to have lost its ability to interact with partners on an equal basis long ago,” adding that it could not “punish” South Africa for being “non-aligned.”

Brigety stated last Thursday that the US does not consider South Africa to be non-aligned in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and that its choice of Russia could jeopardise commercial relations with the US.

Hitting back at Brigety, the Russian embassy said the weapons allegedly sent to Russia did not match “neither the types nor the calibres of the systems currently in service with Russia’s armed forces”.

The embassy questioned the impact of a “minuscule” number of firearms and ammunition allegedly distributed by South Africa in the conflict.

READ|  US Ambassador Apologizes For Claiming South Africa Supplied Russia With Weapons

The statement read: “[The] docking of [the] Lady R in Simons Town is being used as a pretext – totally fabricated and as false as the notorious tune presented by US State Secretary Colin Powell at the United Nations Security Council, which was followed by a full-scale invasion of Iraq.”

Speaking to the Mail and Guardian on Tuesday, Modise pleaded for the country to be left alone because it had not provided “f..kol”, not even “chappies” to Russia.

Modise’s remarks came hours after news emerged South Africa’s army chief, Lieutenant-General Lawrence Mbatha, and his Russian counterpart, Oleg Salyukov, discussed measures to enhance combat readiness and cooperation between the two countries, news24 reports.

She said the two armies had relations, referencing the exercise hosted by South Africa, adding Russia would host the next one, which is planned two to three years in advance.

Expressing frustration over “anti-Russia phobia”, Modise told the Mail and Guardian she expected criticism in Parliament again this year after the Moscow International Security Conference.

On Tuesday, International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor said she met with Brigety on Friday who “unreservedly apologised” but had yet to make a public apology and maintained the allegations he made.

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