South African President Orders Probe Into US Allegations Of Supplying Arms To Russia
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said his government has launched an investigation after the United States ambassador in Pretoria accused the country of having supplied arms and ammunition to Russia via a cargo ship, reported Aljazeera.
In a statement released on Thursday, Ramaphosa’s office said the government is opening an independent inquiry led by a retired judge to look into the allegation.
The statement comes after the US ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety, claimed that a Russian ship was found loaded with weapons and ammunition last December at a naval base near the city of Cape Town.
“Amongst the things that we noted, were the docking of the Russian Cargo ship Lady R in Simons Town, between December 6th and December 8th, 22, which we are confident uploaded weapons, and ammunitions onto that vessel in Simons Town as it made its way back to Russia,” Brigety said at a media briefing in Pretoria on Thursday.
The diplomat added that senior US officials had profound concerns about the South African government not sticking to its professed policy of non-alignment and neutrality as regards to Russia’s war. he said the actions were not that of a none aligned country.
Since the Russia-Ukraine war broke out a year ago, South Africa has repeatedly stated its stance on the conflict was neutral and a pro-negotiated settlement. Several Western countries including the US have urged the nation to condemn Russia on many occasions.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office said it was disappointed by the claims and said no evidence has been provided to support them. The country continues to maintain claims of neutrality in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
South Africa had previously abstained from a UN vote condemning the invasion. It also did not join the US and Europe in imposing sanctions on Russia.