Russia will take part in a joint naval exercise alongside South Africa and China. This could lead to the launch of a hypersonic cruise rocket.
A frigate equipped with the Zircon weapon was deployed in the Indian Ocean for 10 days of joint drills. This will coincide with the first anniversary the invasion of Ukraineon February 24.
Putin “to throw everything” at new attack – war
Last weekend, the vessel arrived in Cape Town with the famous symbols of Moscow’s forces, the V and Z – .
Russia reported earlier this month that drills would involve a training launch for Zircon. However, South Africa’s National Defence Force denied the report.
According to the Russian defense ministry, it conducted a simulation launch of the missile last month. Vladimir Putin described this as “unstoppable.”
South Africa’s decision not to host the Mosi II military drill, which starts Friday, has been criticized at home. It also raised western concerns about Russian and Chinese influence in Africa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government says it has a neutral stance regarding the Ukraine war. It also abstained last year from a UN resolution denouncing the Kremlin.
Its defense ministry stated that South Africa, as any other independent sovereign state, had the right to conduct its foreign affairs in accordance with its national interests.
Previous exercises were held by the country with international partners, including France in November.
Reuters reports that many EU and NATO diplomats based South Africa are “not in agreement”.
The drills were also criticized by opposition parties to Mr Ramaphosa’s ruling African National Congress, (ANC).
The ANC has had long-standing ties to Moscow. Moscow supported the then-banned party in its fight against the racist Apartheid regime.
Ukraine begins a major summit to prepare for the ‘escalation’
As a major security conference in Germany gets underway, drills will start.
As Russian forces intensify their offensive in the eastern regions of Ukraine, which they invaded nearly a year ago, Ukrainian officials will be expected to address the Munich summit.
On Thursday, 36 missiles were fired across Ukraine. 16 of them were destroyed by Kyiv’s airforce. One struck the largest oil refinery in Ukraine.
The German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, France’s Emmanuel Macron and Kamala Harris (the US vice president) are among those who will be attending the Munich summit.
This comes as Kyiv presses its ally for more military hardware, including aircraft.
During his night-time video address, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian President, stated that troops were “holding” the situation at the front but are also ready for “escalation by the enemy.”
Russia’s main focus is Bakhmut in eastern Russia, which Putin wants to capture by April.
On Friday, he will meet with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko.