South Africa, China, Russia start joint naval exercises
The Russian Defense Ministry announced the commencement of a tripartite naval exercise at Richards Bay which will involve the ships of the Russian Navy, South African National Defense Force, and Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy.
On Wednesday, the Russian defense ministry announced the commencement of joint trilateral naval exercises with China and South Africa. The commencement was announced at a ceremony attended by high-ranking officials from all three countries at the South African port of Richards Bay where the drills will occur: with the Brazilian Navy included as an observer at the training.
"Today, the Port of Richards Bay was the venue of the ceremony to inaugurate the tripartite naval exercise that will involve the ships of the Russian Navy, South African National Defense Force, and Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy," the defense ministry said in a statement.
Senior officials of the three participating parties attended the ceremony: Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral Nikolay Yevmenov, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Chinese Navy Vice Admiral Li Yujie, Deputy Chief of the Joint Command of South Africa Rear Admiral Bubble Mhlana, and other honored guests.
Yevmenov, in addressing the crowd, expressed his keen interest in enhancing naval cooperation with South Africa and China.
Representing the Russian Navy were the hypersonic Zircon missile-equipped frigate Admiral Gorshkov, and the medium sea tanker Kama.
The South African Navy was represented by a frigate, and the Chinese Navy was represented by a destroyer, a frigate, and a supply vessel.
The drills will include a set of battle simulation exercises: joint artillery firing, tactical maneuvering, releasing a captured ship, assisting a ship in distress, and repelling aerial attacks.
Back on January 19th, South African National Defense Force (SANDF) foreshadowed the trilateral exercises in a statement. "The 10-day naval exercise, called Mosi, which means Smoke in the local Tswana language, will bring together more than 350 SANDF representatives from various branches and units alongside the Russian and Chinese counterparts, with an aim of sharing operational skills and knowledge," the statement read.
The exercises formally started on the 17th however the active phase of the naval exercises will run from February 25th until February 27th.
Read more: Over 350 South African Troops to join drills with Russia, China
Later, on the 24th of January, after the SANDF statement announced the "Mosi" exercises, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre expressed Washington's concerns over the trilateral naval military drills at a press conference.