Russia To Test A Hypersonic Missile In Drills With China And South Africa
- The South African government has said that at least 350 people from the navy and other parts of the military are expected to take part in the exercise.
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov criticised what the West was doing to help Ukraine and talked about how close Russia is with South Africa and other African countries.
Russia, China, and South Africa are going to start naval drills Friday off the coast of South Africa in the Indian Ocean. This is to show how close the three countries are, even though Russia is invading Ukraine and China is having trouble with the West.
The 10 days of drills, called Mosi II, will start on February 24, which is the first anniversary of when Russia invaded Ukraine. This week, the Admiral Gorshkov, a Russian frigate, arrived in Cape Town with the letters Z and V on its sides. These letters are used to mark Russian weapons on the front lines in Ukraine and are a symbol of patriotism in Russia.
In Cape Town’s harbour, a small yacht flying the flag of Ukraine went by a Russian frigate as a sign of protest. On Friday, South Africans who are against the exercises are planning to protest at the Russian Consulate in Cape Town.
Admiral Gorshkov’s arrival has caused a lot of controversy because it is equipped with the latest Zircon hypersonic missiles, which Russia says can get through any missile defences and hit targets on land and at sea.
During the joint naval drills, the warship will test-fire a Zircon missile, according to the Russian state news agency Tass. This will be the first time the missile has been used in an international test.
A South African military statement said that, in addition to the Admiral Gorshkov, the maritime exercises will include a Russian oil tanker to refuel, a South African frigate, and three Chinese ships: a destroyer, a frigate, and a support vessel.
The joint naval exercises also come at a time when relations between China and the US are tense. This is because China sent a balloon across the US, and the US shot it down. The maritime exercises will take place in the ports of Durban and Richards Bay, which are in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.
Less has been said about the drills in the media. South Africa has been criticised at home for taking part in the drills. The Democratic Alliance, which is part of the opposition, said it shows that South Africa is not neutral in Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The South African National Defense Force has called the naval exercises with China and Russia “a multinational maritime exercise.” The goal of the naval drills is to share “operational skills and knowledge,” the military said in a statement. The drills will “strengthen the already strong relationships between South Africa, Russia, and China,” the statement said.
The South African government has said that at least 350 people from the navy and other parts of the military are expected to take part in the exercise. In 2019, the three countries held naval drills called Mosi I in Cape Town. South Africa is one of many African nations that get along well with Moscow and didn’t vote for a UN resolution that condemned Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Since the war in Ukraine started, both Russia and the U.S. have tried to get South Africa’s help. This shows how important Pretoria is as a strategic partner on the continent.
The two superpowers have been competing for power in Africa by sending high-level diplomats to the continent over the past few months. High-ranking US officials, like Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, recently went to South Africa to strengthen diplomatic, political, and economic ties. In September 2022, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa went to the White House.
During a trip to South Africa last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov criticised what the West was doing to help Ukraine and talked about how close Russia is with South Africa and other African countries.