On February 27, the exercises of the Russian Navy, the Republic of South Africa and China come to an end.

The maneuvers started in the Indian Ocean on February 17.

Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral Nikolai Evmenov took part in the opening ceremony of the exercises in the port of Richards Bay.

“Speaking to the audience, Admiral Nikolai Evmenov welcomed the participants in the exercise and noted that the Russian Navy is deeply interested in strengthening naval cooperation between Russian, Chinese and South African sailors,” the website of the Russian Defense Ministry reports.

The active part of the exercises took place from 25 to 27 February.

The military of the three countries carried out joint artillery firing and tactical maneuvering at sea.

In addition, during the training, actions were practiced to search and release a captured ship, provide assistance to a ship in distress and repel air attacks from a potential enemy.

From Russia, the frigate Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov, equipped with Zircon hypersonic missiles, took part in the exercises.

The ship set off for the first long-distance voyage after modernization on January 4.

On the way, he was accompanied by a medium sea tanker "Kama" (both ships are part of the Northern Fleet).

The Chinese Navy was represented at the exercise by the frigate Rizhao, the destroyer Huainan and the Kekesilhu supply vessel, and the South African Navy by the frigate SAS Mendi.

  • Frigate "Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov"

  • RIA News

  • © Pavel Lvov

Representatives of the Brazilian Navy, which, along with the Russian Federation, China and South Africa, is a member of the BRICS association, attended the exercises as observers.

"Operational Skills Exchange"

In the West, the joint exercises of the Russian Federation, China and South Africa have caused sharp criticism.

Thus, the American Republican Senator Lindsey Graham promised the Republic of South Africa problems in connection with participation in the maneuvers.

And a number of members of the US House of Representatives, in turn, called on the administration of President Joe Biden to reassess relations with South Africa.

The draft of the corresponding resolution was submitted to the House on February 21 by Republican John James.

  • South African military in the port of Richards Bay, February 21, 2023

  • AP

  • © Themba Hadebe

The document notes that this resolution contains "an objection to the Republic of South Africa conducting military exercises together with the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation," and also invites the Biden administration to "carry out a thorough analysis of relations between the United States and South Africa."

In addition, the authors of the draft resolution called on the South African authorities to abandon all further joint exercises with the Russian Federation and China, as well as to reconsider their refusal to participate in the Cutlass Express military exercises planned for 2023 with the United States.

In addition, the document calls for reducing South Africa's dependence on Chinese companies and publicly condemning Moscow's actions within the NWO.

However, according to the Daily Maverick edition, citing congressional sources, this resolution is unlikely to be adopted.

At the time of publication of the material, the document was still under consideration by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

A number of EU politicians also expressed concern about the exercises of the navies of the three countries.

In particular, members of the European Parliament from Poland Anna Zalevska and Elzbieta Kruk, together with colleagues from Finland and Estonia Teuvo Hakkarainen and Jaak Madison, suggested that the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell consider the possibility of suspending "funding South Africa" ​​because of the country's position towards Russia.

The European deputies recalled that at the end of January, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited South Africa, among other things, to discuss the details of preparing joint military exercises with the Republic of South Africa and China.

And South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor then noted that holding such events "with friends" is "a natural course of development of relations."

In addition, the parliamentarians considered it necessary to recall that earlier South Africa at least twice abstained from voting in the UN General Assembly on resolutions condemning Russia's actions in Ukraine.

“Given South Africa’s position on Russia, does the VP-High Representative agree that any EU funding to South Africa should be delayed until further notice, and if not, why not?”

- Europoliticians demanded a response from Borrell.

They also asked the head of EU diplomacy if he was going to meet with Minister Pandor "to express the EU's concern about South Africa's position on the Ukrainian crisis."

Predictably, the position of South Africa was also criticized in the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.

In a statement posted on the website of the diplomatic mission, it is said that Kyiv is deeply concerned and disappointed with the maneuvers.

Ukrainian diplomats called on the African republic not to encourage Russia's policy in Ukraine.

In South Africa, such criticism is rejected and emphasized that Pretoria does not take any of the parties in the Ukrainian conflict.

The South African National Defense Forces, commenting on the exercises, noted that their goal is "the exchange of operational skills and knowledge." 

The department also expressed confidence that these maneuvers "will strengthen the already prosperous relations between South Africa, Russia and China."

In turn, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed bewilderment at the negative reaction of Western countries to the naval exercises.

“Three sovereign countries, without violating any norms of international law, are conducting exercises.

I do not understand who they can cause a mixed reaction?

Probably our American colleagues.

They believe that only they can conduct exercises around the world.

And not only at its more than 200 military bases around the globe, but also anywhere,” the minister said on January 23 at a press conference following talks in Pretoria with South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor.

According to Lavrov, the maneuvers of Russia, China and South Africa are absolutely transparent, information related to the course of the exercises and provided by all three countries is available.

"Unable to Isolate Russia"

Experts interviewed by RT emphasize that joint exercises allow the Russian Federation, South Africa and China to strengthen relations in the military-political field.

  • Pretoria

  • Gettyimages.ru

“For Russia today, such military cooperation is especially important.

In addition, these exercises demonstrate the role and importance of the Russian Federation on the political map of the world, ”said Vladimir Vinokurov, professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry, in an interview with RT.

In turn, Alexei Podberyozkin, Director of the Center for Military-Political Studies, noted the importance of the presence of the Russian Federation in the African region, which is of "great strategic and economic importance."

The analyst also added that joint military maneuvers with China and South Africa indicate the failure of the West's attempts to isolate the Russian Federation.

“Attempts to interfere with Moscow’s cooperation with the international community will continue to run into counter activity of the Russian Federation.

Somewhere we will be able to neutralize the efforts of the West, but somewhere not quite.

However, one thing is clear: the West fails to isolate Russia, ”the expert said in an interview with RT.

With this circumstance, experts also explain the negative reaction of the West to the exercises of the Navy of the three countries.

“Such a reaction for the West, led by the United States, has become familiar.

They are trying to deprive the Russian Federation of any international contacts and to minimize Russia's military-political cooperation with third countries.

This has always worried them, but in relation to South Africa it worries them especially, since now there is competition for influence in Africa between the Russian Federation, China and the United States, ”says Alexei Podberezkin.

Vladimir Vinokurov shares a similar opinion.

At the same time, he drew attention to the fact that all three countries participating in the maneuvers are members of the BRICS.

“These exercises are important for a number of reasons.

First, they hit US efforts to isolate our country.

In addition, the maneuvers testify to the strengthening of the military component of the BRICS association.

Previously, such processes were not observed.

All this determines the significance of the exercises, ”the specialist pointed out.

Analysts also believe that Western attempts to put pressure on South Africa are unlikely to affect Pretoria's relations with Moscow.

“The ruling party in South Africa has a traditional and long-standing negative attitude towards the West, which dates back to the period of anti-colonial struggle.

Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that the pressure of the United States and Europeans will radically affect the position of South Africa, ”concluded Alexei Podberezkin.