According to local media reports, the United States ambassador to South Africa accused the country on Thursday of providing military assistance to Russia, despite claiming to remain neutral in the Ukraine conflict.
Ambassador Reuben Brigety stated at a press conference that the US has reason to believe that weapons and ammunition were loaded onto a Russian freighter that arrived at a Cape Town naval base in December. He expressed confidence in these claims.
On Thursday, the United States of America, USA’s envoy to South Africa, accused the country of providing military support to Russia despite its professed neutrality in the Ukraine war, local media said.
Ambassador Reuben Brigety told a media briefing the US was “confident” weapons and ammunition had been loaded onto a Russian freighter that docked at a Cape Town naval base in December.
“The arming of the Russians is extremely serious, and we do not consider this issue to be resolved, and we would like SA to [start] practicing its non-alignment policy,” Brigety was quoted as saying.
A source present at the meeting confirmed the remarks made by Ambassador Brigety. Still, according to an AFP report, the US embassy did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
Despite Moscow’s growing international isolation due to the Ukraine invasion, South Africa has refrained from denouncing it, claiming to remain neutral and advocating for dialogue to end the conflict. As a prominent African nation that previously overcame apartheid, South Africa holds significant moral influence.
However, critics have pointed to a joint military exercise with Russia and China earlier this year as evidence of South Africa’s alleged alignment with the Kremlin. Ambassador Brigety referred to a known incident involving the Lady R, a Russian-flagged cargo vessel under Western sanctions that had docked at South Africa’s most extensive naval base.
“Among the things we noted was the docking of the cargo ship in the Simon’s Town naval base from 6th to 8th December 2022, which we are confident uploaded weapons and ammunition onto that vessel in Simon’s Town as it made its way back to Russia,” the envoy said.