Zambia News

Defense Of Military Activity With Russia By South Africa

The decision by South Africa to participate in a combined military exercise with China and Russia next month has been defended.

The “double-standard” that states some countries can conduct such drills but not others was denounced by foreign minister Naledi Pandor.

Dr. Pandor continued, “All nations engage in joint military drills with allies around the world.”


The remarks were made at a press conference with Sergei Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia, in Pretoria.

A few protesters carrying Ukrainian flags gathered outside the venue for the event.

Dr. Pandor continued by denouncing as a “abuse of international practice” the idea that South Africa cannot conduct the military drills it desires.

This is merely a normal series of drills that take place between nations, she explained.

The military of South Africa said last week that joint naval exercises with China and Russia would take place off its coast the following month.


However, some have argued that the drill is inappropriate because it falls on the same day as the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


There hasn’t been much information released regarding the exercises, but according to the state-owned Tass news agency, a Russian vessel outfitted with hypersonic cruise missiles will participate.

The scheduled exercises have also been defended by the Ministry of Defense, which noted that South Africa has previously held similar drills with the US, France, and other Western Nato member states.

The drills will take place in Richards Bay and the port city of Durban for ten days, from February 17 to February 27.


The South African National Defence Force stated that the goal is to exchange operational expertise and experience.


South Africa has remained neutral despite pressure from Western nations to denounce the Russian incursion, much to Ukraine’s dismay.


Speaking at the conference, Mr. Lavrov expressed his appreciation for South Africa’s “well-balanced” and “considerate” stance to the conflict in Ukraine, which, according to Dr. Pandor of South Africa, must be handled diplomatically and through diplomacy.

South African officials have consistently stated that while they do not support the invasion, they will not be pressured to choose a side and will continue to conduct business as usual with both nations.

South Africa has been criticized for adopting an evasive approach.

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