Illustrative photo – China and Russia have started the largest maneuvers in the history of Russian-Chinese military cooperation. Today, seven Chinese warships arrived at the main port of the Russian Pacific Fleet in Vladivostok to take part in the Naval Cooperation 2013 military exercise. The maneuvers began in Peter the Great Bay south of the port of Vladivostok and will last until July 12.
Cape Town (JAR) – Today, the first phase of a joint naval exercise between South Africa, China and Russia began in the Republic of South Africa, in which the Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov with hypersonic missiles Cirkon (Zirkon) will participate. The maneuvers will last until February 27 in the vicinity of the port city of Durban and the city of Richards Bay. Their goal is to “strengthen the already flourishing relations between South Africa, Russia and China”, the South African Ministry of Defense said.
“The Russian frigate has arrived in Durban. The Chinese ship will arrive later. We are in the preparatory phase, the main phase will start on February 22,” a South African military source told AFP today.
The exercise begins as the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is also an opportunity for Moscow to show that it is not isolated on the world stage, despite the wave of condemnation that has risen against it after the invasion of Ukraine. South Africa is one of Russia's most important allies in Africa, which is divided over the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Western sanctions against Russia.
In January, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his South African counterpart, Naledi Pandorova, defended joint military and naval exercises following talks they held in Pretoria during Lavrov's first visit to South Africa since the invasion of Ukraine.
Pandora has repeatedly said that her country will not take sides in the conflict, and she has criticized the West, which she says selectively condemns Russia and glosses over other violence, such as Israel's occupation of Palestine.
According to the South African opposition, the country is expressing support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine through the exercise, maneuvers in this sense were also criticized by Washington. “The United States is concerned when any country (…) exercises with Russia at a time when Russia is waging a brutal war against Ukraine,” the BBC quoted the White House as saying.
In addition to the frigate, Admiral Gorshkov will deploy Russia also joins the Kama tanker in the exercise. China has sent a destroyer, a frigate and a support ship, South Africa will be represented by one frigate and two support vessels. According to the TASS agency, the Russian warship will practice launch a Cirkon missile, which, according to the TASS agency, will be the first time during an international exercise.
According to available information, the naval exercise is to cover an area of almost 160 kilometers long, and military activities during it are mainly to include artillery training or anti-aircraft exercises defense. The maneuvers have the same name Mosi (Smoke) as the first naval exercise that South Africa, China and Russia organized in South African territorial waters in November 2019. It took place then off the coast of the Cape of Good Hope in the Atlantic Ocean near Cape Town.