South Africa's Army Chief Visits Moscow For Bilateral Talks
On Monday, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) confirmed that the commander of South African ground forces is visiting Moscow for bilateral talks between the two countries' militaries.
- On Monday, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) confirmed that the commander of South African ground forces is visiting Moscow for bilateral talks between the two countries' militaries.1
- Lt. Gen. Lawrence Mbatha is heading a delegation holding talks with their Russian counterparts regarding "military cooperation" issues that would enhance the "combat readiness" of both countries' armed forces, Russian news agencies reported, citing the Russian Defense Ministry.2
- The bilateral meeting is taking place at the invitation of the Russian military and was "planned well in advance" as part of Pretoria's policy of maintaining international military relations and addressing "matters of mutual interest" with foreign military delegations, the SANDF said.3
- Mbatha, who reportedly reached various agreements to boost bilateral military ties, visited Russian military educational institutions and defense industry companies on Monday, with the delegation also set to tour Russian military academies, the South African military said.4
- The visit comes days after the US ambassador to South Africa accused Pretoria of secretly supplying arms to Moscow using a Russian freighter docked in Cape Town, but he later regretted "any misimpression" his public remarks may have caused.5
- On Monday, South African Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa said his country did not authorize arms deliveries to Russia and referred to Pretoria's non-aligned position, which he said does not favor Russia over other countries, as well as its commitment to international treaties.6
Sources: 1Al Jazeera, 2Africanews, 3Bloomberg, 4The Defense Post, 5WION, 6DW.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by IOL. The military delegation's trip to Russia demonstrates that South Africa will not be intimidated by the US and the presumptuous claims of its ambassador, as it continues to pursue an independent foreign policy. The ambassador's unfounded and outrageous claims are the result of intelligence disinformation that threatens South Africa's national security and undermines the country's sovereignty. South Africa is not a US colony and should prove it by expelling Washington's ambassador.
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Daily Maverick. The dispatch of a South African military delegation to Moscow shortly after the recent scandal over Pretoria's arms support for Russia's war in Ukraine is the latest evidence of Pretoria's disgraceful support for Moscow. Not only did Ramaphosa lie about the arms shipments and Pretoria's alleged "non-alignment," Mbatha's Russia trip — funded by South African taxpayers — will further strain relations with the US and put more pressure on South Africa's already struggling economy.