Russia, China, and South Africa are planning to conduct naval drills off the coast of South Africa’s Indian Ocean. The joint exercise is called Mosi II and will take place for 10 days, coinciding with the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The drills demonstrate the close ties between the three nations amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and China’s strained relationship with the West.
The Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov, armed with the latest Zircon hypersonic missiles, arrived in Cape Town earlier this week. During the drills, the warship will test-fire a Zircon missile, marking the missile’s first launch in an international exercise. The exercise also includes a South African frigate, a Russian oil tanker, and three Chinese ships.
The drills come as China’s relations with the US are tense following the downing a Chinese balloon by the US. The media coverage of the drills has been restricted. South Africa has faced criticism for its participation in the exercises. The opposition party are claiming that through this South Africa is not neutral in Russia’s war in Ukraine.
However, the South African National Defence Force has described the drills as “a multinational maritime exercise” aimed at strengthening the already flourishing relations between the three countries. The military has said that the exercise will involve sharing “operational skills and knowledge.”
We anticipate that the exercise will involve at least 350 individuals from different branches of South Africa’s military, including the navy. African nations like South Africa abstained from voting on a UN resolution condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Russia and the US have sought South Africa’s support, highlighting its influence as a strategic partner. In recent months, top officials from the two superpowers have competed for influence in Africa.
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