South Africa accepts docking of Russian ship despite US warnings
On January 7, Thandi Modise, South Africa's Minister of Defence and Military Veterans criticized the US for attempting to intimidate African nations into not doing business with Russia.
The Maritime Executive reported on Tuesday that the acceptance of a port call by a sanctioned Russian freighter has raised concerns among US officials.
The Russian ro-ro /freighter Lady R is a ship owned by sanctioned Russian shipowner Transmorflot which has recently rebranded as MG-FLOT.
It is one of seven companies that were sanctioned by the US Treasury in May 2022 due to the conflict in Ukraine.
But even though the firm was blacklisted, Lady R continued its trade activities and made several port calls across the world, including Alexandria, Kolkata, and Kochi.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the visit of the Lady R ship caused strained relations between Washington and Pretoria.
The newspaper quoted a senior US official as he expressed Washington's concerns about the claimed support provided by the South African armed forces to the Russian ship, including allowing it to enter and transport cargo at a naval base.
According to the US official, when the United States learned last November that the Lady R was heading to South Africa, the US embassy alerted the South African government to the fact that the ship was under sanctions.
The official stated at the time that the embassy had not received any response to its warning about the ship from the South African government.
On January 7, According to Eyewitness News, Thandi Modise, South Africa's Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, criticized the US for attempting to intimidate African nations into not doing business with Russia
According to Modise, African nations should reject the Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act, which aims to penalize any African companies or individuals conducting business with Russia.
“We cannot be bullied simply because we are a growing economy. We have national interests, we have regional interests, [so] we must make sure we stand our ground where it counts.”
She also responded to Reuben Brigety, the US ambassador to South Africa, who had criticized her on her 2022 travel to Russia for a conference on international security.
“We do not interfere with their relationships with Mexico. We have our issues, we make our comments, but we cannot instruct a minister in another country,” Modise said.
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South Africa is one of the few nations which have refused to support western sanctions against Russia.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa's government has often been criticized for refusing to condemn Moscow's special military operation in Ukraine.
Read more: New EU Sanctions on Russia will backfire: Russian Foreign Ministry