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June 10, 2023

US accuses South Africa of supplying weapons to Russia

South Africa carried out military exercises with Russia and China earlier this year
South Africa carried out military exercises with Russia and China earlier this year photo: GettyImages

The US has accused South Africa of supplying weapons and ammunition to Russia last December, despite its claim that it is neutral in the war Russia is fighting in Ukraine, South African newspapers are reporting.

In a briefing to South African journalists, US ambassador to Pretoria Reuben Brigety said the arms were loaded on to a Russian ship that had docked at a naval base in Simon’s Town.

“Among the things we noted was the docking of the cargo ship in the Simon’s Town naval base between 6 to 8 December 2022, which we are confident uploaded weapons and ammunition on to that vessel in Simon’s Town as it made its way back to Russia,” the ambassador was quoted by South Africa’s News24 website as saying.

Asked how accurate the US’s intelligence was that South Africa supplied ammunition to Russia, Mr Brigety said he would bet his life on it, according to News24.

The TimesLive news site quoted Mr Brigety as saying it would be “a mistake to underestimate the concerns in Washington”.

South Africa has yet to officially comment on the accusation.

President Cyril Ramaphosa told parliament that “the matter is being looked into”, after the opposition questioned him about the ambassador’s claims.

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