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“Associates” With Russia, Says South Africa Amid Ukraine Warfare

'Friends' With Russia, Says South Africa Amid Ukraine War

“All international locations conduct navy workouts with buddies,” Ms Pandor mentioned. (File)

South Africa:

South Africa mentioned on Monday it was “buddies” with Russia because it hosted Russia’s prime diplomat for a go to that has sparked criticism towards the backdrop of the struggle in Ukraine.

A continental powerhouse, South Africa has refused to sentence Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and final week introduced it’s going to host joint maritime drills with Russia and China in February.

Minister of Worldwide Relations Naledi Pandor defended the transfer on Monday as she welcomed her counterpart Sergei Lavrov for talks in Pretoria.

“All international locations conduct navy workouts with buddies,” Ms Pandor advised a press convention after the talks.

She thanked Lavrov for the “most great assembly,” which she earlier mentioned would have helped “strengthen the already good relations” with what she described as a “valued companion.”

South Africa lately assumed the chairmanship of the BRICS, a grouping that additionally consists of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, to problem the dominant US and European-led international governance buildings.

It has resisted taking sides over the struggle in Ukraine, which has triggered sweeping Western sanctions towards Moscow and makes an attempt to depart it diplomatically remoted.

However the hyperlinks with Moscow have triggered criticism, with some accusing the federal government of getting deserted its impartial stance.

‘Brazenly siding with Russia’

“It’s turning into more and more clear that the South African authorities is brazenly siding with Russia,” mentioned Darren Bergman, a lawmaker with the principle opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) occasion.

“Pleasant engagement” with Russia was “not acceptable” until geared toward persuading it to finish its involvement in Ukraine, he mentioned.

Lavrov mentioned Moscow appreciated “the impartial, well-balanced, and thoughtful method” taken by Pretoria.

Russia didn’t “refuse negotiations” with Ukraine, he added.

“However those that refuse should perceive that the longer they refuse, the tougher it’s to discover a resolution,” he mentioned.

Officers in Moscow have blamed the closure of diplomatic channels on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has mentioned he won’t negotiate whereas Russian chief Vladimir Putin is in energy.

Regardless of the general public overtures, the Kremlin has up to now proven little willingness to melt its method on the bottom.

In Pretoria, members of the Ukrainian group in South Africa held a small protest towards the go to, with some waving indicators studying “Go house Lavrov,” and “Cease the lies! Cease the struggle.”

Greater than 350 South African military personnel are to participate within the joint naval workouts scheduled for February 17 to 27 off the port cities of Durban and Richards Bay.

Final week, the muse of the late South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, known as the deliberate naval workouts “disgraceful” and “tantamount to a declaration that South Africa is becoming a member of the struggle towards Ukraine.”

(Aside from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)

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