South Africa risks backlash for Russian naval exercises

This weekend, a Russian warship carrying one of Moscow's most potent weapons sailed into a port

on South Africa's east coast as the anniversary of Vladimir Putin's brutal invasion of Ukraine approaches.

A "Z" and "V" are crudely painted in white on the frigate Admiral Gorshkov's blackened smokestack,

just like the Russian tanks and artillery pieces that rolled into Ukraine a year ago. According to President Putin, this frigate is carrying hypersonic Zircon missiles.

Together with South African and Chinese vessels, it is taking part in a 10-day naval drill in the Indian Ocean.

According to South Africa, these war games have long been planned. Western diplomats are publicly and privately angry over the timing of the exercises,

and they run the risk of embarrassing the Pretoria government. The timing of these exercises is especially regrettable since it will draw

attention to South Africa on the war centenary. Western countries won't likely get away with this one, according to Steven Gruzd,

director of the South African Institute of International Affairs' African Governance and Diplomacy Program.

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