Russia's Top Army General And His South African Counterpart Discussed "Military Cooperation"

The senior general of the Russian army and his South African counterpart met on Monday in Moscow and talked about "military cooperation," according to the Russian Defence Ministry. According to the AP, the statement came shortly after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa refuted US claims that his nation was supporting Russia in the conflict in Ukraine and had delivered Moscow weaponry. 

The leader of the South African army, Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha, met with Gen. Oleg Salyukov, the commander of Russia's ground troops, in Moscow, according to the Russian government. The statement said, "The meeting between the military commanders yielded agreements on the further expansion of cooperation between the land forces in various areas."

A South African delegation would tour a number of Russian army "educational and training facilities," according to the defence ministry. The US ambassador to South Africa claimed last week that the nation had supplied weaponry to Russia when a ship under US sanctions made a covert stop at a South African naval port in December. The South African army said that the voyage was arranged well in advance of that claim. 

Although it has totally excluded the possibility that an arms transaction took place, the South African government has denied that the Russian cargo ship's halt entailed an official sale of weapons. To find out if somebody placed weapons onto the cargo ship flying the Russian flag, Lady R, at the Simon's Town naval port outside of Cape Town, Ramaphosa stated that an investigation was under progress.

Ramaphosa reiterated South Africa's non-alignment position against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in his weekly message to the country on Monday. The president's remarks were interpreted as a rejoinder to Reuben Brigety, the US ambassador to South Africa, who questioned South Africa's objectivity while making the claims regarding a shipment of weaponry. 

Ramaphosa continued, "We have been firm on this point: South Africa has not been, and will not be, drawn into a contest between global powers." The AP independently confirmed that, as Brigety said, the cargo ship made a three-day stay at the South African naval facility in December. Records inspection reveals that the Lady R is associated with a business that the US penalized for supplying the Russian government with weapons and supporting its military campaign in Ukraine.

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