South Africa’s military has defended its decision to host controversial naval exercises with Russia and China that began on Wednesday (February 22), shortly before the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has alarmed Westerners. “There is a difference between the army and politics,” said General Siphiwe Sanguini, head of joint operations within the South African armed forces, during a press conference in the port of Richards Bay (east).
He said the army is “directed by the government” but must also learn new skills from other militaries to protect the country and contribute to international peacekeeping missions. He pointed out that “other countries will certainly have a different approach from us” in these joint exercises with Russia and China, but “every country has sovereignty and has the right to manage things as it deems it should be.” General Sanguini added, “Cooperation and coordination with all other armies is very important for us.”
Last month, South Africa announced the organization of these joint exercises with the Russian and Chinese navies “with the aim of exchanging operational skills and knowledge,” noting that Russia was the leading country.
The operations, involving more than 350 South African soldiers, are scheduled to continue for several days off Durban (southeast), South Africa’s largest port on the Indian Ocean, and Richards Bay, about 180 kilometers north. In particular, a Russian military frigate equipped with hypersonic Zircon missiles and a Chinese warship are participating. In a statement on Wednesday, the Russian military said the Russian frigate would be used, among other things, as part of exercises aimed at countering security threats at sea.
The commander of the Russian Navy, Oleg Gladky, said that maneuvers by the ships of the three countries simulate the firing of pirates at a captured ship and “artillery fire”, which will not include the firing of hypersonic missiles.
Source: Albawabh News